Congregation Etz Chayim - Palo Alto, CA

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Name: Congregation Etz Chayim
Address: 4161 Alma Street, Palo Alto, CA 94306
Denominational affiliation: Independent.
Member units (households): 300-500
What percentage of members are older than 50? 60%
How many people attend a regular Shabbat service? 30 people on Friday, 25 people on Saturday, 15 people at monthly contemplative services
Length of typical Shabbat morning service? Friday night 60-75 minutes, Saturday morning 2 hours.
Shabbat dress code: Very casual. You’ll always find a few people in jeans. The rabbi wears a white shirt, no tie or jacket.
Daily services? No
Does your synagogue have its own building? If not, where do you meet for services? Yes, we have our own building.
Is there an opportunity to socialize after services? Yes, we always have challah and wine and snacks. Sometimes it’s more, depends on the host.
Language of service: Services are mostly in Hebrew with English readings sprinkled in. All traditional prayers are in Hebrew, English and transliteration. We have Ein Keloheinu in Ladino and a few other things like that.
Is another language offered in the prayer book? Some Hebrew, English and Ladino.
Children’s programming: No. We welcome children into the service. Once a month, we have a special Friday night program for young families, and a Saturday morning program for the same crowd, but they aren’t services, per se. We also offer engaging religious education programs for children ages 2-15.
Accessibility for people with disabilities: It’s physically accessible, but we don’t have signing for the deaf or Braille prayerbooks.
Are services streamed online? No
Are the rabbi’s sermons available online? No
Percentage of members in interfaith marriages? “This question does not reflect how we think of our families. Around 25% of our households have a non-Jewish adult in them. Those non-Jews are full members.”
Will the rabbi officiate at an interfaith wedding? Will he/she attend one? As of now, he will not, but our Executive Director will. The rabbi will officiate over an aufruf for a wedding between a Jew and an non-Jew and happy to dance then and at the wedding ceremony, too.
Are there distinct roles for men and women in your synagogue? No, we are fully egalitarian.

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