• Temple Emmanuel: A Renaissance in Chelsea

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    May 30, 2018
    Temple Emmanuel: A Renaissance in Chelsea
    Chelsea, Massachusetts -May 25, 2018
    Chelsea was a thriving center of Jewish life during the last century. Located just four miles northeast of downtown Boston, Chelsea had the densest concentration of Jews outside of New York City. The Jewish immigrants to Chelsea established about two dozen orthodox synagogues and one conservative temple. Temple Emmanuel was formed in the 1930s and continues with a dedicated congregation from the local area and across the US.

    As a commitment to Temple Emmanuel and Chelsea, the members raised almost $100,000 and just completed an extensive renovation. The sanctuary was built in the 1840s as a Methodist­ Episcopal church with high ceilings and excellent sight lines to the ark. In the 1950s the sanctuary, which seated almost 500, was often full for the high holidays. We still attract crowds to our major functions. A few years ago we mounted a Jews of Chelsea Exhibition that attracted more than 500 visitors.

    The re-invigoration of Temple Emmanuel reflects a loyal membership and a dynamic tireless president, Sara Lee Saievetz Callahan. Sara Lee learned effective leadership from her mother and grandmother, who were very active in the community including the Chelsea Soldiers Home and the Assumption Church. Rabbi Oksana Chapman has been very creative in preserving some religious aspects of conservative traditions while adapting to embrace a diverse community. For example, services now include a chorus and musicians; interfaith and same­ sex weddings and congregants are celebrated. The temple renovations include a large social hall and an updated kitchen, which can accommodate up to 135 for both religious and secular functions.

    Chelsea is in the midst of a renaissance and is growing with the construction of government, commercial, and residential buildings plus a new transportation hub. Temple Emmanuel welcomes new residents, those with roots in Chelsea, and anyone seeking a welcoming and warm environment (haimish in Yiddish). We invite visitors and prospective members at any service or function.
    Sara Lee Saievetz Callahan, President
    Temple Emmanuel 60 Tudor Street
    Chelsea, Massachusetts (MA) 02150
    Sara Lee Saievetz Callahan, President, Temple Emmanuel
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