Religions and Spirituality

Press Releases

Temple Emanu-El Community Dedicates Lavy House, Outdoor Classroom

db6311c8645e77927c28_4968b3556827b3ef2805_Rabbi_Sagal_during_outdoor_classroom_dedication.jpg
Rabbi Doug Sagal and students at Temple Emanu-El's Early Childhood Education program helped dedicate the new outdoor classroom on Dec. 18. Credits: courtesy of Donna Oshri
d9abf9ff29e9fe4fce6e_Marion_Lavy_during_dedication.jpg
Marion Lavy celebrated the dedication of the Lavy House, which is named in memory of her late husband. Credits: courtesy of Donna Oshri
7ed5f40dcc0b0cff8f2e_lavy_house_exterior.jpg
The Dr. Norman Lavy Community House was dedicated on Dec. 18. Credits: courtesy of Donna Oshri
db6311c8645e77927c28_4968b3556827b3ef2805_Rabbi_Sagal_during_outdoor_classroom_dedication.jpg

WESTFIELD, NJ – The Temple Emanu-El community celebrated the dedication of the Dr. Norman Lavy Community House and an outdoor classroom for its Early Childhood Education program earlier this month.

The Lavy House, which sits adjacent to the temple on East Broad Street, was named after Dr. Norman Lavy, a devoted congregant who was a strong supporter of Temple Emanu-El’s Shabbat morning worship service as well as Jewish study and scholarship.

The purchase of the land and building next door to the temple was made possible through “an extraordinary gift” from long-time temple member Marion Lavy in memory of her late husband, according to Donna Oshri, a spokeswoman for Temple Emanu-El.

Sign Up for E-News

“Mrs. Lavy’s gift provides a remarkable resource not only for the Temple, but for the whole community,” said Senior Rabbi Doug Sagal.

Mrs. Lavy’s donation has also enabled the temple to renovate the house and install a handicap-accessible entrance and a handicap -accessible bathroom, as well as other projects.

The building will be used as a permanent space for Saturday morning worship services, Shabbat dinners and programs and adult education classes.

It will also house the temple’s Resource Center for Seniors, which is a joint initiative with the Westfield United Fund, Jewish Family Service of Central New Jersey and Temple Emau-El to provide guidance to those coping with the challenges of aging. The center will provide free information and programs connecting area seniors to resources available in our community. A social worker will lead special programs and provide individualized case management as well.

The Resource Center for Seniors is open to all community members, Oshri said.

Dedication of the Lavy House was held during the temple’s Friday night worship service on Dec. 18.

Earlier in that day, the temple also dedicated its outdoor classroom with children from its Early Childhood Education program.

The purchase of the Lavy house has also provided space for the outdoor classroom, which has been a vision of ECE director Jill Cimafonte for some time. Located behind the Lavy House, the outdoor classroom was made possible by a donation from the Weidhorn Family Foundation and contributions from early childhood education families.

“Being surrounded by nature and natural items provide infinite benefits to children,” Cimafonte said. “Nature has a way of instilling in us a sense of beauty and calmness. It exposes us to things that are alive and growing and promotes curiosity and exploration.” 

Once an overgrown tangle of trees and shrubbery, the backyard of the Lavy House has been transformed into a natural space that offers students stumps for sitting and learning, an area to create with leaves and sticks and a bridge.

“So far we have completed phase one of the outdoor classroom, with phase two to include a stage area, a butterfly garden, a bat house and much more,” Oshri said.

“With the creation of the outdoor classroom we are also fortunate to be able to add a nature camp to our summer offerings for early childhood students,” she added.

The outdoor classroom has been named "Teva," which means "nature" in Hebrew.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Mountainside

Upcoming Events

Fri, May 25, 9:30 AM

Junior League of Summit Thrift Shop, Summit

Here Comes Summer! Junior League of Summit Thrift ...

Giving Back Green

Sat, May 26, 9:00 AM

Miller-Cory House Museum, Westfield

Aunt Carrie's Attic Sale

Giving Back Other

Thu, May 31, 1:30 PM

Coppola Ristorante, New Providence

Lunch and Learn: Dental Implants and the ...

Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_c9562615f730fddb6122_cabaret

Thu, May 31, 7:00 PM

Gov. Livingston Cafeteria, Berkeley Heights

Gov. Livingston Hilltop Players Host Annual Relay ...

Arts & Entertainment

Video Shows School Board Member In Altercation With Police at Traffic Stop in South Orange

May 16, 2018

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - South Orange Maplewood School Board Member Stephanie Lawson-Muhammad got into an altercation with a South Orange police officer who stopped her for speeding last month, in which she used profanity, complained when she was issued a ticket and called South Orange Police Chief Kyle Kroll “a skinhead cop.”

Lawson-Muhammad also appeared to suggest that she would ...

Red Cross Shares 20 Ways to be Safe This Summer

May 24, 2018

Download free Red Cross Apps to have safety information at your fingertips

The upcoming Memorial Day holiday weekend is the unofficial start of summer when many people will begin traveling, firing up the grill, and enjoying swimming and other water-related activities. The American Red Cross wants everyone to have fun and offers 20 things people can do to be safe all summer ...

The Evaluation of the College Search

It’s is a bizarre time of year as a college counselor as I find myself at both the beginning and end of this process.  Sophomores and juniors are excitedly and idealistically starting to consider what will be important to them in a school.  At the same time, while only separated by a year or two, my seniors have all committed within the past month to a school and have spent the ...

How the Holi Color Festival Came to Summit; Event Planner Shares Her Story

May 21, 2018

Back in India, Holi was a holiday observed by almost all states. The holiday would be declared at all educational institutes and offices. It's a two day spring festival also known as the festival of colors. The festival signifies the victory of good over bad, the arrival of spring with the fragrance of flowers in the air and aura of warmth and happiness.

Holi festival is the time ...