“I am deeply pained by — and mourn — the loss of life already inflicted and I lament the many further tragedies that will befall both Israelis and Palestinians in the days ahead,” writes our Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch. “Our synagogue stands with Israel in its fight to protect its citizens and suppress terrorism.”
Joining Stephen Wise Free Synagogue “was the thing to do,” says Michael Patterson, who is a principal at Ernst & Young and has been a member here for 30 years, serving as president, treasurer and trustee. “My grandfather told me, ‘You have to support Jewish institutions.’ So, when my wife Suzy and I moved to the Upper West Side, we found a Reform synagogue and joined.”
“School stopped being a place you go. We became the school,” says ECC Assistant Director Melissa Hume. Last month, Melissa was among five educators who received the Jewish Education Project’s Young Pioneers Award for creating exceptional educational experiences for their students and their families during challenging times.
“Before COVID, the Emergency Food Program had never missed a day in 27 years,” says Scott DiSavino, who oversees some 250 volunteers as the Emergency Food Program’s volunteer coordinator. “But we had to close our doors last year until we were able to re-open in September.” If you’ve ever come to the synagogue early on a Saturday morning, you’ve probably seen Scott standing out front, offering a warm smile and kind words to our guests as they line up to receive donated food packages.
“The hardest part was hearing how disappointed our kids were,” says Director of Youth Education Rabbi Rena Rifkin, who had to call 14 Religious School families in March to coordinate new b’nai mitzvah plans. “Our students spent a full year in tutoring and were getting so excited — but just as they were setting up for a field goal, the goal post moved back.”
How Stephen Wise Produced This Year’s High Holy Days