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About Us

Temple Emanuel Winston-Salem hosts a vibrant and inclusive religious school and one of the city's most respected early learning centers. We are proud of how each member brings his or her own story to our diverse community—from newcomers to the Winston-Salem area or Temple Emanuel to those who have a multi-generational history at our congregation. We welcome all who seek a Jewish community – a place to call home.

Temple Emanuel's Vision

A vibrant Jewish community for all.


Temple Emanuel's Mission

We cultivate an inclusive Jewish life through education, engagement, and spiritual purpose.


Temple Emanuel Core Values:

  • Community: Through outreach, engagement, and participation, we create a sense of belonging.
  • Education: We create meaningful Jewish learning experiences for all ages.
  • Inclusion: Temple Emanuel welcomes everyone.
  • Spirituality: We live this by embracing tradition and creating a sense of peace and purpose.
  • Tikkun Olam: We work toward repairing the world through social action, community outreach, and philanthropy.


Temple Emanuel Winston-Salem has been in existence for over 90 years and is a source of great pride and joy for the locally-born and raised as well as those who have moved here from elsewhere.

Jews came to live in Winston-Salem, N.C. in the early 1880s. The first Jewish resident is believed to have been Joe Jacobs, a men’s clothier who moved here from Baltimore, Maryland with his wife and two children. By the end of the decade, there were enough Jews in town to hire the first rabbi, Mordecai Shapiro. Winston-Salem’s first formal Jewish religious services, which were Orthodox, were held in 1890.

Later, a group of people interested in a more liberal expression of Judaism, with more English in the service, began laying the groundwork for a new congregation. Their original intent was to form a Conservative congregation, but in 1932, Temple Emanuel was established as a Reform temple, in part because a young rabbi and recent graduate of Hebrew Union College named Meyer Simon so impressed the congregation. Two years later, in 1934, Rabbi Simon became Temple Emanuel's first full-time rabbi.

Temple Emanuel’s original place of worship was a remodeled storeroom downtown. After a succession of downtown locations, Temple Emanuel moved its present address in 1952. 

The original building and its educational wing, which was added in 1972, now house the preschool, religious school, library, and administrative offices for the Rabbi and staff. Adjacent land, purchased in 2000, is the home of our current sanctuary building, which was completed in 2001.

Fri, June 14 2024 8 Sivan 5784