Who We Are

Who We Are

When we decided to merge our two synagogues, we agreed that we would select a new name.  We wanted a name that was chosen by our congregants.  Therefore, we solicited potential names from the members of both congregations, and we received 31 unique suggestions.  After much discussion and two rounds of voting, the Steering Committee narrowed the 31 names down to 5 finalists.  We agreed that the name with the most votes would become the name of our new synagogue.  Ballots were sent to all members of both congregations  to ensure that everyone had the opportunity to express their preference.

The new name, Etz Chaim, was announced on January 17, 2015 at a special dinner to honor the work of the Steering Committee members in bringing the two synagogues together.  Etz Chaim means “tree of life”.  A tree of life is a theme used in many religions, philosophies and mythologies to represent the concept that all life is interconnected.  In Judaism, it is often figuratively applied to the Torah itself.  Regardless, the tree of life is depicted as a beautiful tree that has deep roots and multitudinous branches.

Our congregants obviously understood, in selecting this name, that our congregation has deep roots (over 180 years of combined history for the two shuls), and many branches, in that our congregants all have many different ways of expressing their Judaism but all are welcome.