Town and Village Synagogue is the only conservative synagogue south of 42nd street. Its down-to-earth membership is welcoming and, for those interested in getting involved in synagogue life, the opportunities are plentiful. A recent project, T&V Together, is striving to reach out to the membership to build connections beyond the core of active members. If you are interested in working to improve community and finding a spiritual home, Town and Village is a place for you.
We joined T&V about 15 years ago after "trying out" 2 other synagogues for Kol Nidre and Yom Kippur. We came in the morning and never left to visit one more shul. The warmth, caring and feeling of community were and continue to be so very strong.
I "married into" the synagogue about 30 years ago, and now the synagogue is really part of my family. I recently celebrated a Bat Mitzvah at T&V - chanting Torah (I learned at T&V), Haftorah (taught by our wonderful Cantor) and delivered a D'var Torah (not my first at T&V). T&V is truly a place of learning, sharing and caring. My good friend, a 92 year old elder stateswoman of the congregation, states that T&V is her lifeline . Another senior member said that she could not have survived without T&V when she broke her ankle. Last year an 8th grader's mom died. Her Hebrew class formed a minyan for her and the class parents provided meals for the family when needed. My family celebrates its simchas at T&V : Bar and Bat Mitzvah, Baby naming, anniversary and even a Kiddush in honor of my husband's election. T&V is unique in so many wonderful ways: we have a full, free community service for the high holidays; members assist with a service at a local nursing home run by a Rabbi who is a lay member at T&V. I've met new and fun people when we were paired off on a Thanksgiving God's Love We Deliver project. We run and staff the community's weekly Shabbat service for hospitalized Jewish veterans at the local VA hospital. Our Bikur Choilm visits the local hospitals to bring cheer, and our Shofar blowers visit our home-bound members on Rosh Hashanah to bring the mitzvah of hearing the Shofar to them. The list goes on and on. TandV and its clergy provides the best in what we consider "uniquely Jewish menschlichkeit". All of which is done on a shoe-string budget, with volunteers, little paid staff and much love. The opportunities to give and to grow in a more compassionate, Jewish, way is available to all.
T & V is a most warm and welcoming place. As a place of Jewish observance, it couples a great spiritual tradition with highly egalitarian and participatory services. As a place of Jewish community, it offers compelling opportunities for learning, tzedakah (charity), and social action. It felt like home to me and my family from the first time we stepped in the door.
My family and I have had a wonderful experience in our 18 years at T and V. We have felt welcomed and nurtured and found a place to celebrate all the wonderful milestones of our lives as the children have grown. One can be involved from early morning services to high quality adult education in the evenings. The clergy is accessible, and the cantorial singing in beautiful.
I came to T&V over 10 years ago with my new husband. We were looking for a Rabbi to help guide us through a traditional Jewish wedding and found a community and family. From day one we felt a wonderful connection to the community. The members are warm and welcoming. As visitors to the shul we were invited to the homes of members for Friday night dinners, Passover Seders and even meals during the high holidays. We have formed deep meaningful bonds over the years and feel blessed to be able to give our kids an second home overflowing with honorary grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends.
T&V is my other life. I could be busy there every single day (or evening) of the week with classes, services, committee work. The warmth and friendships here are overwhelming. The prayer service is uplifting and even fun. What I especially love are the amazing classes that are available to us with absolutely first rate teachers who inspire. My life would be so much less rich and meaningful if I did not have T&V in my life.
We have had many family life-cycle celebrations at T&V. We have also had two daughters participate in the hebrew school from tot programs to bat-mitzvah class. The process of working with the Rabbi & Cantor on the bat mitzvahs has been very positive for our daughters and it was a great continuation of their hebrew school experience. Both our daughters have made life-long friends in the Hebrew school and my wife and I have made dear friends among Hebrew school parents and among other members. The 8th grade Israel class and trip was a tremendously successful program. Even though my daughter had been to Israel before, she discovered Israel anew with her friends and developed a greater connection to the land and people. T&V is more than a wonderful community - it is an important part of our family's life.
I never could have expected what I found when I arrived at Town and Village synagogue over 25 years ago. What I found tranformed my life and the life of my family. While searching for a place which would provide services, I found a community. While searching for a place for learning, I found that I was now part of a family. This connection to community became so strong so quickly that it became the overwhelming priority in deciding to live downtown so that we could continue to always be part of this extraordinarily devoted and diverse community. All of our life celebrations - even birthdays, anniversaries, graduations etc. - are celebrated at our shul - as it our home and its members are our family. Its reputation for warmth and heimishness is well deserved and real - one need only enter one time to witness how one is greeted warmly by others in shul, immediately offered an honor or participation in the service and reached out to by so many during kiddush. One need only look around the shul and at the tremendous amount of participation to notice the diversity and how everyone is accepted for who he or she is. But some of my most memorable times reflects the humor and good will which flows through the shul, whether at a Purim shpiel, a spoof at a dinner dance or through some creative fun with the clergy during services. What makes Town and Village unique is that it takes our mission and what we do and what we learn seriously but we like to have fun while doing so.
From the day I walked in and was warmly welcomed at the door and included in a Learners Service, I have felt a part of the synagogue. I have met many people of all different ages and am impressed with the jewish learning and skills of the congregation and how they share those skills by teaching others. I have also found it a very warm and inclusive organization with extraordinarily talented clergy and educational director.