Shalom and thanks for visiting our Temple Emanu-El website. We are a Reform Jewish Congregation in Irondequoit, New York, a few minutes from downtown Rochester.
We feel fortunate that we share a rich heritage, a vital Jewish community life, and a promising future. Our congregation reflects the diversity of today's society - we invite you to share in our warm, informal approach to Reform Judaism
Shabbat services take place on Friday evenings at 8:00 PM, except for the third Friday of the month when they start at 7:30 PM and are followed with a discussion session led by Rabbi Herzbrun. During the summer, all services begin at 7:30 PM.
To find out more about our congregation, please click “About Us” on the menu bar. Better yet, come visit us.
Although Purim is a celebration of our people’s victory over Haman in ancient Persia, we remember all of those tyrants who over the ages have tried to destroy us. Many looked upon the Jewish people as intruders who did not belong in their lands, as Haman said: “There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of thy kingdom; and their laws are diverse from those of every people; neither keep they the king's laws; therefore it does not profit the king to suffer them.” (Esther 3:8)
The story is related in the book of Esther (the Megillah) which is read on Purim. Haman convinces King Ahasuerus to let him destroy the Jews in the kingdom, but the plot is discovered by the Jew Mordecai, whom Haman hates because he refused to bow down to Haman. So Mordecai is the first whom Haman plans to hang. Modecai asks his cousin, Queen Esther, to appeal to the king to save her people. It is a dangerous mission because Esther herself is Jewish, and also because no one can approach the king without being asked to. She fasts for three days before going the king and succeeds in saving the Jewish people. Now, instead of Mordecai, it is Haman who is hanged.
Purim is a joyous celebration, the only time when we are told to get drunk. We celebrate with carnivals, costume parties, Purim spiels (plays), providing gifts for charities, the reading of the Megillah (during which lots of noise is made with every mention of the name Haman) and of course the eating hamentashen (cookies shaped like Haman’s hat).
At Emanu-El, we’ll celebrate on Sunday, March 16 with a carnival presented by our Hebrew School, and with the reading of the Megillah.
Jacob Schiff was a banker, a financier, and a philanthropist who helped build railroads and corporations, and who shared his wealth with many organizations and those in need. He was born in Germany in 1847 to a family of Rabbis that could trace its roots back to the 14th century. He came to the United Sates in 1865 and became a citizen in 1869. He returned briefly to Germany after the firm that he had founded broke up, but returned to the US in 1874. Upon his return, he joined the banking firm of Kuhn, Loeb, & Company. He married Theresa Loeb, daughter of the firms head, Solomon Loeb. He proved to be an able banker, and upon Solomon’s retirement in 1885, Jacob became the firm’s head.
Schiff helped finance many major corporations, including Westinghouse, US Rubber, Armour, ATT, and Western Union. He had a special interest in railroads and financed the Pennsylvania, the Louisville and Nashville, the Great Northern, the Illinois Central, the Union Pacific, and the Baltimore & Ohio Railroads. He served as a director of a number of companies, including Equitable Life Insurance, National City Bank of New York Western Union, the Union Pacific railroad, and Wells Fargo. Upon his death in 1920, his son Mortimer took over the business.
Schiff gave loans to the US and various foreign governments, including the Japanese. His loan to Japan to help them win their war against Russia (1904-1905) was motivated by his knowledge of Russia’s cruel pogroms and anti-Semitism. After the war, Japan bestowed upon him its Order of the Rising Sun.
Schiff was a philanthropist, giving generously of his time and money to various institutions, both Jewish and non-Jewish. He helped found Hebrew Union College (Reform), the Jewish Theological Seminary (Conservative), the American Jewish Committee, and the Joint Distribution Committee. He was president and a heavy contributor to the Montefiore Hospital. Other institutions that benefitted from his generosity include Harvard University, Barnard College, the Tuskegee Institute, the Henry Street Settlement, and the American Museum of Natural History. He served on the Board of the New York Zoological Society, was a vice president of the New York Chamber of Commerce, and served on the Committee of 70 which helped overthrow the Tweed Ring.
Jacob Schiff died in 1920, leaving an estate of $50,000,000 of which $1,350,000 went to various institutions.