New York, NY – Tamid: The Downtown Synagogue (www.tamidnyc.org) will open in the Fall 2012 with the mission to create Jewish opportunities for prayer, learning, and service for families, individuals and youth living in Lower Manhattan.
Tamid will be led by three Reform rabbis, Darren Levine, Darcie Crystal, and Michael Mellen, all New York City residents and friends and colleagues dating back to rabbinical school in the late 1990’s.
“Tamid will be a 21st century urban synagogue built upon the three pillars of Judaism: prayer, learning, and service to others,” said Rabbi Darren Levine, “My family and I have lived downtown for six years. Tamid has been a dream of mine – to have a house of prayer, progressive in spirit, for the Jewish community. We will reach upward and outward and we look forward to creating bonds of friendship with all our neighbors – all will be welcome with open arms, open hearts, open minds.”
Tamid will be a spiritual home for the primarily secular and religiously progressive in spirit – mainstream Jews, converts, and interfaith. Tamid welcomes individuals from diverse families, backgrounds, and sexual orientations. The synagogue will offer regular holiday and Shabbat experiences, including live gatherings, on-line experiences, and a full range of life-cycle ceremonies including baby namings, b’nai mitzvah, weddings, and funerals.
For Shabbat and High Holy Days, Tamid will meet at St. Paul’s Chapel, the iconic refuge for the 9/11 recovery workers. The Rev. Dr. James H. Cooper, rector of Trinity Wall Street, said that “The Trinity Wall Street community gladly offers our Eighteenth century chapel to Tamid, the 21st century synagogue for holy days in September and regular Shabbat observances. In doing so, we continue a parish tradition of providing hospitality and welcome to all.”
Basya Schechter, lead singer and founder of the Jewish music group, Pharoah’s Daughter, will be the Artist-in-Residence and Musical Director. The mood of Tamid’s worship will be lofty, contemplative, and spirit filled – designed for families and individuals to sit together in prayer and reconnect to each other and to themselves.
Rabbi Michael Mellen has previously served as a congregation’s “rabbi-educator” and is the former director of NFTY, the Reform Movement’s national youth program. Rabbi Mellen has a radical new vision for youth and moral education. “We’re re-imagining Jewish education and re-building it from the ground up using the most creative and engaging tools in education today. We’re building a curriculum based on the most current trends in education – peer projects, digital blackboard technology, smart boards, differentiated and customized learning.”
As Judaism has always been about community, the Tamid Hebrew School will come to where students build their natural communities – at their schools, at their homes, in their neighborhoods. This Fall, Tamid will have three sites: Tribeca, Battery Park City, and the Financial District – as well as private at home learning.
Rabbi Darcie Crystal, a New York City mom of three young children will be focused on programs for young families. “I can relate to the burdens and the joys of raising kids in the city. We work hard a creating a Jewish home and I’m eager to work with Tamid’s young families to help them find their Jewish voice in a relevant way.”
Tamid will also have regular service and social action programs and activities benefiting local, domestic, and international relief organizations. Interfaith work is another primary goals – opening dialogue and creating relationships across all faiths.
“At a time when religious and ethnic differences have become powerful tools that tear the social fabric of society, it is becoming increasingly important for faith communities to engage in serious dialogue with people of other faiths. There is no better way than to engage with people of other traditions in their daily lives. Tamid aims to not only strengthen Jewish life but to enhance the rich legacy of religious tolerance in New York City,” adds Daisy Khan of the American Society for Muslim Advancement and Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, Founder of the Cordoba Initiative
“One of the more rewarding aspects of doing ministry in lower Manhattan is getting to interact with clergy of different faith traditions,” said Pastor Ryan Halliday of the Lower Manhattan Community Church. “I have been especially sharpened and encouraged by my friendship with Rabbi Darren Levine. Our church is thrilled to hear that Tamid is starting and we look forward to building a strong relationship for years to come.”
“Innovative ideas that bring people together in the American Jewish community are what we need. Usually Jewish organizations evolve out of crisis. Tamid is responding to an opportunity and is coming to meet the needs of a Jewish community. I am very excited,” said Ester Perel, downtown resident of 24 years, author and marriage expert.
Rabbi Darren Levine added, “Congregations are about people. On April 15, we begin a community engagement campaign called ‘49 Weeks of Conversation.’” For 49 weeks, people will listen, talk, share, participate, act, write, and discuss Jewish ideas. This will happen downtown at cafes, art galleries, public spaces, private homes, museums, theaters, bookstores, on street corners and on-line. “We look forward to building something very special in Lower Manhattan – a caring community that will be here for generations to come.”