Town Hall Meeting: March 17, 2019

Senior Pastor Abe Cho and the East Side leadership led us through a presentation on our vision, our financial health, the launch of Redeemer East Harlem, and changes to our worship location and times starting March 31. The announcement regarding the move to Temple Israel starts 28:31 into the recording. 


New worship location and times

After 25+ wonderful years at Hunter College, we are excited to start a new chapter in the life of our Redeemer East Side community. On Sunday March 31, 2019, we will move six blocks north to a new location, where we will begin worshipping at the Temple Israel sanctuary, located at 112 East 75th Street.

9:30 a.m.
Children’s Ministry programming available
11:30 a.m.
Children’s Ministry programming available
5:00 p.m.
No Children’s Ministry programming

We are grateful for the partnership we’ve had with Hunter College since 1993 and look forward to a time of reflection, thanksgiving, and celebration at our last worship service at Hunter on March 24.

At the same time, we are excited about the opportunities this move will bring. Temple Israel has been an integral part of the Upper East Side community for more than 50 years. They have been warmly welcoming and have been enthusiastic about the opportunity to host us in their building. When Senior Pastor Abe Cho met with their rabbi, David Gelfand, he explained that he sees it as a partnership for a richer religious life on the Upper East Side, which is good for all.

Temple Israel will allow us to expand our morning worship from one to two services (9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.) in a much more intimate worship space. We will have access to classrooms outfitted specifically for children, as well as a fellowship hall that doesn't require a GPS to find! Overall, we will benefit tremendously from a physical space that is far better suited to facilitate a sense of community and belonging. All that while providing us with new ways to engage with our neighbors as we continue to invest in our Upper East Side neighborhood.

We realize with this exciting news that you may want to visit Temple Israel to take a look prior to March 31. Besides not being open to us other than on Sundays, as a gracious courtesy to our new friends, let’s all please wait until our our first worship service to experience it for the first time. To share all the information you can have in advance so you won’t run into any more surprises than is necessary on that first day, here is a 7-minute video walk-through of the space.


Virtual tour of our new worship location


Frequently Asked Questions


Q: Where are we moving to?
A: Temple Israel, a Reformed Jewish synagogue, at 112 East 75th Street. It is between Park and Lexington avenues on the south side of the street, six blocks directly north of Hunter College.

Q: When are we moving?
A: Our first Sunday in Temple Israel will be March 31, 2019.

Q: Why are we moving?
A: We recognize this is a big change after 26 years at Hunter. But we are excited for several reasons. First, it roots us more deeply in a more residential part of the Upper East Side. We can be more present as neighbors there. Second, the space itself is much more intimate and lends itself to deeper community-building. Third, it is far more affordable while still meeting most of our ministry needs.

Q: Will there be new worship service times? What are they?
A: Yes. We will now have two AM services (identical in content and style) and one PM service. Worship times will be: 9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Q: Do we need more Sunday Service volunteers since we’re adding a service?
A: Yes! We need more than 50 new volunteers for Children’s Ministry (CM) to participate in Children’s Worship and lead small group activities with a team that serves twice a month. Our Sunday Service Teams (SST) also need more volunteers, which includes things like Welcome Center, Communion Team, and ushers. You can sign up for CM volunteering here or SST volunteering here. Volunteers in the morning are now able to attend a worship service immediately before or after they serve because we will have two morning services.

Q: Is there heightened security because it is a synagogue?
A: Yes, Temple Israel does have increased security measures that are important for you to be aware of before you arrive. Normally, they require every person entering the building to be wanded and go through a bag check. For our services, however, they are graciously allowing the security to just do random wandings and bag checks in order to accommodate our numbers. If you are randomly selected for a security check, we appreciate your cooperation.


Q: What is the space at Temple Israel like?
A: Watch this virtual walking tour (6:39) to get a sense for the space.

Q: What is the sanctuary like?
A: It’s an intimate space that seats about 900 (395 on the ground level and 500 in the balcony). It features rainbow-hued windows along the walls signifying God’s covenant with Noah, a thirty foot high structure suggesting the Ark of the Testimony, carried through the wilderness accompanied by a column of cloud by day, and fire by night (Exodus 40) and the Solomonic Temple of Jerusalem (I Kings 7) with the words “God is my Rock and my Salvation,” and rock supporting the Torah quarried from the mountains of the Sinai Desert.

Q: Is there a place for our coffee hour afterwards?
A: Yes, there is a large area called the Ballroom located two flights below the main entrance to the sanctuary down a broad helical staircase.

Q: Are there Kosher food requirements we need to observe while in the building?
A: Temple Israel asks that food served be kosher style (mainly no shellfish or pork), but it isn’t a strictly kosher facility.

Q: Is Temple Israel handicap accessible?
A: Yes, there is handicap accessible seating and bathroom facilities, as well as two elevators to take you to different floors in the building.

Q: How many elevators are there?
A: Unfortunately, there are only two small elevators, each with a maximum capacity of about 7-8. There are, however, two stairwells on both sides of the elevator banks that provide access to all floors. A helical staircase also gives access to the basement level (Ballroom), the mezzanine (Chapel), and both levels of the sanctuary.

Q: How many classrooms are there?
A: There are 11 children’s classrooms and three adult classes. While this is fewer than the number of rooms we had at Hunter, we believe with some adjustments and the fact that we are dividing into two morning worship services, we can continue to provide all the classes we want to offer, both for adults and children.


Q: Which services will have childcare?
A: Both morning services will have classes for infants through fifth grade. The 5 p.m. service will not.

Q: Does this mean that there is a need for additional volunteers?
A: Yes! We need more than 50 new volunteers for Children’s Ministry and Sunday Service Teams. If you have been looking for a way to get involved, now would be a VERY helpful time to sign up! You can sign up here.

Q: Are strollers allowed in the building? Where do we park them?
A: No. As you can imagine, the sheer number of strollers would be overwhelming. Stroller parking is available on site in the large covered terrace upon entering the front gates.

Q: Where will my child’s Children’s Ministry classroom be?
A: Nursery through Kindergarten classes will be on the fourth floor. First grade through fifth grade classes will be on the sixth floor. (This is also where the Dive Deep classes will be.)

Q: What can I expect for check-in procedures for Children’s Ministry?
A: We will have check-in stations on the ground floor only. All children will need their stickers to enter CM classrooms. We encourage you to arrive early the first few weeks and we thank you in advance for your patience! It will take some time to optimize this process and work out issues that arise.

Q: What can I expect for pick-up procedures for Children’s Ministry?
A: This process will be evolving as we learn what works best for our new spaces. Parents will still be required to hand us the security sticker with code that is specific to their child.

Q: How will I be notified if my child needs me during the service?
A: You will receive an SMS text from a CM staff member. We will no longer be utilizing the paging system with your child’s code on a screen in the sanctuary. When checking in your child, PLEASE make sure your mobile number is up to date and leave your phone on vibrate (and accessible) during the service.

Q: Are there any changes to when my children go to their classes?
A: No, as always, infants through kindergarteners may be dropped off before the service starts. Elementary (first through fifth grade) children begin in worship with parents and are dismissed during the service to volunteers that will take them to their classes. Middle school and high school students stay for the whole service. The exception to this is children who attend Dive Deep and the second service. Those children will be escorted by volunteers directly from their Dive Deep class to Children’s Worship. They will NOT go into worship with their parents.

Q: Does this affect when Middle School and High School groups meet?
A: Yes. Starting March 31, both Middle School and High School will meet on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Middle School students will meet on the 6th floor and High School students will meet in a room just outside the coffee hour in the Ballroom.

Q: What’s going to happen to the 9:15 Discipleship Hour (Dive Deep)?
A: The former 9:15 Discipleship Hour will now be held from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Dive Deep classes will all take place on the sixth floor. Children who attend the 9:30 service will be able to stay in their classrooms straight through the new Dive Deep time.

Q: What about Discover?
A: Unfortunately, the Discover class (formerly held at 9:15 a.m.) for 4 and 5 year olds will not continue due to space constraints. However, younger siblings of kids in Dive Deep are welcome to remain in their pre-K or Kindergarten classes for an extended time of free play (on the playground if the weather permits) and snack. If you are arriving for the 9:30 a.m. worship, you will pick these children up at noon, and if you are arriving for your older kids to attend Dive Deep, you can drop them off at 11 a.m. and pick them up after 11:30 a.m service.  

Q: Will there be a cry room with video or audio feed of the worship service?
A: Yes. The room we will be using as our cry room is on the 5th floor and has both video and audio feed capabilities.


Q: How do I get to Temple Israel on public transportation?
A: Temple Israel is very accessible from both the 6 train (77th Street Station) and the Q train (72nd Street Station). There are also four buses that run along 3rd Avenue and Lexington Avenue: M98, M101, M102, and M103.

Q: What is parking like near Temple Israel?
A: There are several parking garages within a few blocks including across the street. The two closest are Garage Management Co (75th between Park and Lexington - 212-628-5770), Champion Lenox (77th between Lexington and 3rd Ave - 212-650-1280). There is also limited street parking.