Simultaneous open house draws upon 9 congregations


Laura Freedman, director of Early Childhood Education, and Sunny Brownrout, vice president of Temple Sinai, greet visitors at last year's open house. PHOTO PROVIDED

SARASOTA -- The Sarasota-Manatee Synagogue Council annual open house will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday with members of nine area congregations from Bradenton to North Port welcoming prospective members.

"This is a wonderful opportunity to tour their facilities, meet the clergy, staff and the lay leadership of these synagogues," said Laurie Lachowitzer, president of the Synagogue Council.

Representatives will showcase various offerings, auxiliaries and programs each temple offers. "It is a great way to get a taste of what each congregation is all about," Lachowitzer said. "The best is that this afternoon is free, no reservations are required and most if not all will offer refreshments."

The nine participating congregations comprise the membership of the Synagogue Council of Sarasota-Manatee and represent various denominations and sizes.

Temple Beth El at 4200 32nd St. W., Bradenton, would be the most convenient for area residents. The others, in alphabetical order: Humanistic Judaism, Congregation Kol HaNeshama, Congregation Ner Tamid, Temple Beth El (North Port), Temple Beth Sholom, Temple Emanu-El, and Temple Sinai. Addresses can be found at

The timing allows interested people to commit to a temple family prior to the high holidays and the start of religious school classes. Most congregations are sensitive to the economic times and will make financial arrangements to accommodate a person's ability to pay.

"Our Sarasota-Manatee community is unique in the way that our congregations work with a spirit of cooperation to coordinate this event," Lachowitzer said. "This simultaneous open house is not something that occurs often in other cities and it says a lot about the collaboration and goodwill that exists in this part of the world."

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