Temple Avodah, Oceanside NY

However you define your family,
we welcome you to ours

FAQ -Frequently Asked Questions

  1. MEMBERSHIP

Q- Who may join Temple Avodah?

A- Any person of the Jewish faith over the age of 21 may apply for membership. Only one adult member of a household need be Jewish in order for all the members of the household to join. (Article IV, Section 1. of Temple’s Constitution defines membership as: “Any person of the Jewish faith eighteen (18) years of age or older shall be eligible for membership in the Congregation.”)

Q- Who are the members of Temple Avodah?

A- We are an open and progressively minded Jewish congregation, embracing all who wish to join, welcoming all families, single parents, domestic and life partners, singles, Interfaith and Interracial couples and families. We follow the principles of Reform Judaism as guided by the Union for Reform Judaism, embracing community-focused religion that honors the personal autonomy of the individual as well as the congregation, within a framework of egalitarianism and inclusiveness. However you define your family, we welcome you to ours.

Q- How may I join Temple Avodah?

A- Call the Temple Office and ask about our simple application process. All aspects of Temple membership will be explained, a new member packet will be presented, and your questions will be answered by our Temple Office staff. Rabbi Uri Goren, Cantorial Soloist Jessica Gubenko, our Religious School Educational Director Phyllis Pellman, as well as our Officers and Trustees are always available and will be happy to assist and provide meaningful information and answer your questions.

  1. RELIGIOUS SERVICES

Q – When are services conducted and who may attend?

A – Erev Shabbat services are typically conducted at 7:30 p.m. on each Friday night. Generally, the first Friday of each month, there is a Pre-Service “Nosh” at 6:30 p.m. followed by a 7:00 p.m. service. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, Friday night services generally start at 7:00 p.m. There are special event services such as Musical Shabbats, Ruach, Rock Shabbat, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, and services with Shabbat dinners which often start earlier. The calendar for Temple’s website (www.Avodah.org) should always be consulted before each service. Services are also conducted on Shabbat morning when there is a Bar/Bat Mitzvah and on holidays.

Except for the High Holy Days Services (Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur) every service at Temple is open and available to members and non-members alike. If you wish to attend in order to decide whether Temple Avodah is the right choice for you, please consult the Temple’s website and feel free to attend Erev Shabbat services. Please call our office and if you let us know you are coming, we will be sure to have people to welcome you and show you our beautiful Temple.

  1. RELIGIOUS SCHOOL

Q – What are the requirements to become a Bar/Bat Mitzvah?

A – Our religious leaders, and our Temple Educator, in conjunction with the support of our Officers and Trustees, are committed to a strong religious education for our children in order to insure well-educated Jews. As such, and to add meaning to one becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah / B’nai Mitzvah students must complete five years of religious education, which means starting in the 3rd grade and continuing continuously through 7th grade. While this is the minimum requirement, many of our youngsters start much earlier, entering in our kindergarten or 1st grade.

Q – What grades are included in the Religious School?

A – Temple Avodah is proud that it offers religious education for its students from grades Kindergarten through 12th grade. There is a special Kesher Kef program for students grades 7-12.

Q – How does a student qualify for a trip to Israel substantially funded by the Heettner Endowment?

A – Some twenty+ years ago Raymond Heettner, a relative of one of our Temple members joined a Temple sponsored trip to Israel. He was so inspired by seeing Jewish youth and their commitment to Judaism that he felt compelled to establish a permanent endowment in our synagogue dedicated to the furtherance of Jewish education for our youth. Thus the Raymond Heettner Endowment was established. As part of this endowment, the committee, fulfilling its ideals has contributed substantially to the cost of a 6 week summer trip to Israel provided the following criteria are met: (1) the student has been enrolled in our religious school from at least 3rd grade until the date of the trip and (2) the student’s family has been a member in good standing for that same period of time.

It’s an amazing experience, with our children’s lives and view of the Israel, religion, culture, and commitment being permanently changed or enhanced in a most positive manner.

Q – Is there an opportunity for an adult who never had a Bar/Bat Mitzvah as a child to do so now?

A – Absolutely. We hold an adult Bar/Bat Mitzvah class through our Adult Education programming. Our Rabbi, Uri Goren, and our Cantorial Soloist, Jessica Gubenko, work with adults to prepare them for this meaningful educational experience culminating with a service. It does not matter if you cannot read Hebrew. They will teach you as part of the program. We have been fortunate to have participants take advantage of this long-standing opportunity. In fact, for the past 20+ years we have had an adult Bar/Bat Mitzvah class including women and men. Every single one of them has come away from the experience enriched and feeling more connected to their heritage. Please call the Temple Office for more information.

  1. HEBREW HIGH – KESHER KEF – GRADES 7-12

Q – What is Kesher Kef and what are its activities?

A – Kesher Kef is Temple Avodah’s own dedicated program for grades 7-12. The program features dinner and great conversation. It is socially active and actively social, with sprinkles of Judaism. You may learn all about Kesher Kef by clicking here.

  1. OFFICERS AND TRUSTEES

Q – Who may become an officer or trustee?

A – Each and every member of Temple in good financial standing may apply to become an officer or trustee of Temple. A nominating committee of Temple typically convenes
in February of each year and is always looking for those congregants interesting in becoming a trustee or officer. Making your intentions known would be a great help so that you may be considered. Our constitution also permits a congregant to apply by petition. For all details please contact the Temple Office.

Q – What are their duties and responsibilities?

A – The duties of Officers and Trustees are delineated in a very general sense in our Constitution and By-Laws. The Officers, and particularly Temple’s President, act as the executive branch of our Temple running the day to day affairs, making important decision when needed. Monthly Board meetings are conducted with attendance requirements for all Officers, Trustees, and active Past Presidents. All Officers and Trustees participate as members on at least one Temple committee.

  1. ARMS

Q – How does one join the Temple Sisterhood, Men’s Club, and/or the Parent Teacher Organization?

A – In addition to providing meaningful Religious Services and Education, Temple provides other essential services for its congregations. That includes a strong social aspect, which is achieved through our Sisterhood, Men’s Club, and Parent Teacher Organization (PTO). In addition to fulfilling so many needs of Temple including assisting our children, fundraising, promoting and creating much needed projects, these organizations foster an atmosphere where Jews can gather socially and create lifelong friendships. There is a nominal fee to join each Arm which supports the Arm’s efforts and events for Temple. Information may be found on the forms page of the website.

Q – When do they meet and what at do they do?

A – Each organization holds monthly meetings and participates in special planned events throughout the year. Men’s Club holds many activities as well as assists with BBQs, Sukkah construction and other important events. Sisterhood, the backbone of Temple, has countless fantastic programs, the highlight of which is its annual Election Day Fashion Show. Our PTO is the guiding light behind the scene for each and every event, holiday, service, and educational endeavor offered to our children. All of the members of these groups are Temple members interested in their synagogue, Jewish ideals, camaraderie, friendship, and our youth.

  1. CHOIRS

Q – How does one join the adult or junior / teen choirs?

A – For the past 30+ years Temple is proud of its volunteer adult choir. This group consisting of anywhere from 18 to as many as 23, meets each Thursday night to rehearse with the Cantorial Soloist and our organist. They sing during the High Holidays, at various services throughout the year, at the Thanksgiving Interfaith Service, and occasionally at concerts, often with other synagogues. Reading music is not a requirement, nor is a perfect voice. The only requirement is an interest in Jewish music and willingness to participate.

Our Cantorial Soloist has put together a delightful and talented junior and teen choir. They rehearse weekly and sing occasionally at family services. It’s a thrill to see their parents kvelling at services when their children are on the Bima singing. Participation is strictly voluntarily and it adds so much to a child’s Jewish experience.

Q – Must I be able to read music or know Hebrew to join?

A – No. Neither reading music nor Hebrew is a requirement. The only requirement is having an interest in participating, a voice not totally off key, and a desire to develop friendships with incredibly interesting people.

  1. COMMITTEES

Q – Who may become a committee member and how do I apply?

A – All committee members are volunteer congregants who have an interest in helping Temple. All it takes to become a committee member is the desire to be involved. Any Congregant who has an interest in any aspect of Temple should call the Temple office, provide their name, and committee of choice. There is a short form application to fill out and return. The form is on the forms page of the website. The appropriate Chairperson will be advised and contact you. Our Temple is run through committees and the more of us willing to be members and participate, the stronger it makes our Temple. It’s a chance for change with new ideas being exchanged. You can make a difference in your synagogue by joining one or more committees. All that’s needed is your willingness to become involved to make a difference.

  1. EXTRA CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

Q – In addition to Religious Services and Education, what other programs and events are regularly sponsored by the Temple and how does one participate?

A – Temple Avodah has a myriad of programs too numerous to recite in a short blurb. If your interest is in helping others we have a Social Action Committee. If you want to make and develop meaningful relationship with other Jewish members, join one of Temple’s arms: Men’s Club, Sisterhood, and/or the PTO. We have musical events such as our annual Cabaret Night filled with musical entertainment, and organized trips to see theatre shows and sporting events. We have monthly restaurant outings with our TAFI – Temple Avodah Food Initiative program. If you like to bowl, we have that club too. If you’re a reader, we have a Sisterhood book club. And if you have an idea of something to do, we are always welcoming new suggestions and ideas.

  1. FUNDS

Q – What funds does the Temple sponsor and how do I make a contribution to a particular fund?

A – Temple has established the following funds, all of which accept contributions:

Capital Campaign Fund, Lillian Klein Adult Education Fund, Joan and Erwin Kombert Gardens Fund, Memorial Fund, Education Fund, Music Fund, Rabbi Philmore Berger Leadership Development Fund, Walk of Honor, Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund, and Sacred Prayer Book Fund

Call the office to make a contribution and you will be referred to the correct person.

Q – What is the purpose of contributing and how much does it cost?

A – Happy events (Simchas such as B’Nai Mitzvot, marriage, engagements, academic achievements, milestone birthday and anniversaries, etc.) as well as illness and death are events we typically acknowledge by personal appearances, telephone calls, and/or cards. Temple provides anyone a way to acknowledge and extend feelings at such times. This can be achieved by making a contribution to Temple directed to a fund of your choice. There is a minimum donation of $12 if one wishes to make a contribution to a fund in one’s honor or recognition of an event.

Q – How is this contribution acknowledged?

A – Temple then sends a specially designed card in your name to the recipient acknowledged the circumstances most tastefully and it’s also noted in our monthly newsletter, Temple Topics.

  1. ADULT BAR/BAT MITZVAH

Q – How do I enroll in the Temple’s adult Bar/Bat Mitzvah program?

A – Contact the Temple Office for information. The office staff will be happy to advise as to all the particulars of the program.

Q – Are there any prerequisites?

A – Other than being Jewish, having a desire to study, learn, and attend classes, and enrich your Jewish life, there are no “prerequisites” to becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah.

  1. SOCIAL ACTION

Q – What is the Temple policy and participation in Social Action?

A – Our Temple is proud to have an active and progressively minded Social Action committee, always looking for causes, project, and opportunities to perform Tikkun Olam, and help rebuild the world. Whether it’s protesting injustices in the world, marching in an Israeli Day Parade, participating in the annual LGBT Pride Parade, or collecting money and food for the needy, we are committed to righteous acts to help spread social awareness and to help those less fortunate than ourselves.

  1. TUTORING

Q – Is tutoring available in preparation for a Bar/Bat Mitzvah?

A – Our Temple is proud of its strong effort and program in developing skills for our children as they progress through our religious school, providing them with a rich and full understanding of Jewish history, culture, rituals, and Hebrew. While our religious school teachers and Cantorial Soloist take great pride in preparing each child for his/her Bar/Bat Mitzvah and with great success, we do recognize that not all students learn at the same rate. For anyone encountering difficulty, a call well in advance of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah with our Rabbi or Cantorial Soloist will allow all concerned to be put on the right track toward success, including obtaining private tutoring.

  1. DUES STRUCTURE

Q – Are there different categories for dues?

A – There are (5) main categories of dues:
(1) Family Membership;
(2) Single Parent with child under 30;
(3) Single Member under 67 with no children living at home;
(4) Married Senior Couple (over 67); and
(5) Single Senior (over 67)

There is also special memberships such as:
Junior Membership (for children of members)
Junior Membership 2 (young adults under age 30, not children of members)
New membership: Year 1, Year 2, and Year 3 under special qualifications

There is also a Building Fund.

For further information please contact one of our knowledgeable Temple staff – contact Rochelle in the Temple office who will be happy to assist you.

Q – Is there any alternative to paying full dues for those having serious financial circumstances?

A – If any current or prospective member has a serious financial circumstance, please do not hesitate to call the Temple Office and ask the office staff to have one of Temple’s financial officers contact you. No one will be turned away from Temple based upon a financial hardship.

  1. TEMPLEGRAMS

Q – How can I send New Year’s greetings to my Temple friends very inexpensively?

A – A huge percentage of our Temple members participate in our “Templegrams,” a very inexpensive and attractive means to send holiday greetings at Rosh Hashanah to Temple friends. One beautifully designed card sends greetings to as many of your friends as you wish, with all the printing, sealing, stamping, and sending done by Temple.

  1. CATERER

Q – What type of catering is available at the Temple?

A – Since 1989, Temple has been blessed with the services of its exclusive in-house caterer, Kombert Caterers, one of the finest and most elegant caterers on Long Island. Parties are booked far in advance with priority reserved for Temple members. Kenny Kombert, its proprietor, will provide personal attention and make sure that your every personal need is considered. Kombert Caterers [(516) 678-6161] is available for a variety of parties and affairs, but specializes in Bar/Bat Mitzvot and weddings.