BY MARIA BROWNSELL
After 66 years, Temple Beth El in Spring Valley held the installation ceremony of their 3rd Senior Rabbi, Michael S. Churgel, RJE, on November 15.
The ceremony took place during the Friday night Shabbat worship service with a special dessert reception afterwards. The fun continued on Sunday with a Family Fun Day, complete with a bounce house, video game truck, sand art, board games and food.
As the children had fun jumping and playing, many adults sat at tables on the sides of the room enjoying each other’s company. There were lots of smiling faces and laughter in the room and everyone seemed to be excited about the new Rabbi and what he would bring to the Temple.
“He’s got new ideas, a bubbly personality and we know he is going to influence in younger people coming,” said Arlene Engel.
The teenage girls running the sand table for the smaller kids seemed to agree with older temple-goers’ assessments.
“He does fun stuff for kids probably because he has kids,” Sophie Jay said. “He’s good with all ages,”
Rabbi Churgel was born in Forest Hills, NY, but grew up in California. He was ordained from the Hebrew Union College- Jewish Institute of Religion, and served in Southern California, Brooklyn, and Long Island before becoming the Rabbi of Temple Beth El in July. Churgel is married and has three young children, Daphne, Zoe and Jason.
As the years have gone, much of Temple Beth El’s congregation has grown up and attendance has dropped. With the new Rabbi, the hope is that new, younger families will find the congregation. To accommodate new families, Rabbi Churgel is reinstituting family worship services the first first Friday of each month, while continuing to embrace the current format, which relies on singing and music.
“We want to welcome everyone. We always welcome new people to join us,” said Rabbi Churgel.
Temple Beth El was founded in 1947, but the building that it is in now was dedicated in 1965. The building has gone through many transformations through the years and continues to receive updates. The Temple also features a nursery school and Hebrew school inside the building.