I am writing to express my feelings about the sudden closing of Temple Emeth’s Early Childhood Center. Last Saturday night, the board sent an email out to current and future parents stating that after 20 years, the early childhood center would be closing its doors in the fall. Many of us enrolled our children in November and were extremely shocked and saddened by this news.
We view ourselves as our own community, or even a family. With two children in Temple Emeth, I have forged extremely strong relationships with other parents as well as staff. The expression “It takes a village to raise a child” has come out of my mouth many times, and the best part is that I knew I had that built-in village in Temple Emeth. We truly feel as if our family is being torn apart.
Temple Emeth was so unique because Sharon Floch, the director, was flexible and understanding of every family’s needs. Now parents scrambling for spots in other programs are no longer afforded that luxury. The biggest embarrassment is that this was done so late in the year. Parents are not able to research programs and enroll where their children’s needs will be best met. Empty spots in programs are a rarity in late May. There is new economic hardship as many programs are significantly more expensive. I have experienced scheduling conflicts as plans for my other children were based on Temple Emeth’s hours for next year. Teachers are left unemployed and are seeking new jobs. They are literally in competition with each other for the few early childhood spots that are available.
The community has been so supportive. Many schools are opening new sections and doing everything that they can to accommodate entire classes so late in the game. Early childhood directors were answering their phones and emails late Saturday night and through the weekend. We even hope that they will employ some of our teachers to teach the new sections.
The Temple Emeth board should be embarrassed that they have abandoned their community. They are losing young membership. In the past I have made sure that my family has attended and supported the religious school’s events, such as the Purim carnival, because we were a part of this special community.
While this deal may have been necessary, the timing of it truly feels like a betrayal of the early childhood staff and students.