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A Place to Call Home

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Sarah Heilweil

on 23 June 2014

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Transcript of A Place to Call Home

A Place to Call Home
Welcome to Temple Etz Chaim
A Slight Introduction
When a building is constructed, it is typically constructed for a specific purpose. However, time changes things. The people who inhabit it, and the times we live in. For this reason, sometimes we're forced to reconsider.

This is certainly the case with Temple Etz Chaim, home to the Jewish community in the small town of Franklin, Massachusetts.
Welcome Home.
Temple Etz Chaim was originally constructed to be a private residence for a Navy ship captain and his family. It was purchased by the Temple in 1999, and has been used for services and other Temple functions ever since.
The Temple, A History
Remnants of its History
Since the Temple purchased the space, no structural changes or rennovations have been done to the space. Therefore, it is quite obvious what its previous use was. Services are held in the sanctuary, what was once the living room, and you have to walk through a fully furnished kitchen to get to it. The rabbi’s office is located in the master bedroom which includes a sitting area that has been converted into a study and counseling area. Even certain parts of the house can be attributed to its previous military ownership. Big, open windows, and narrow spiral staircases are reminiscent of things you'd find on a ship.
To make the house more of a temple, it is decorated with Jewish artifacts, memrobilia, and traditional items that help us celebrate our Judaism.
The Little Things
Good Things Come in Small Packages
Compared to other places in Masachussetts, the Jewish community in Franklin is fairly small. For this reason, Temple Etz Chaim struggles with funding. The Temple cannot run on spirit alone, and sometimes there's only so much that people can give. A main focus at the moment is community outreach. The leadership at the temple are working to make the surrounding population aware of Temple Etz Chaim, which may allow us both an increase in membership, as well as a bigger framework when it comes to fundraising.
I Took The Road Less Travelled By...
Part of the problem, is that Temple Etz Chaim is not easily visible from the road, and the building is shrouded in trees and other forestry. Unless given specific instructions, it is unlikely anyone would know it is there. Your only hint is the small blue sign depicted earlier in the presentation. The location may be part of the reason why our community is so small.
Temple Etz Chaim definitely feels like a home away from home. Going to services feels like you're joined with one big family, and that is something all members of the congreation can attest to. The warmth, the community, and the fun that we experience within the walls of this temple have truly made this house, a home.
...and that has made all the difference.
Full transcript