Emanu-El Synagogue Helps Some Congregants Hear Service for the First Time

by | Audio, Case Studies, Production

Located in San Francisco, California, Congregation Emanu-El is one of northern California’s landmark Jewish synagogues and has had a dynamic Jewish community since its founding in 1850. Now in its third site (a gorgeous structure dedicated in 1926, at Lake Street and Arguello Boulevard), the congregation is the spiritual home of over 2,100 households.

Temple leadership had the temple’s membership in mind with the recent installation of next generation of assistive listening products from ListenTechnologies. Intelligent Digital Signal Processing, or iDSP revolutionizes the assistive listening experience. Martinez, California-based firm Pro Media / UltraSound – a leading professional A/V integrator specializing in installations as varied as Levi’s Stadium [the home of the 49ers], the deYoung Museum, the Santa Clara Convention Center, the San Francisco Opera House, corporate and worship facilities of all sizes, and others – worked closely with Listen Technologies personnel on the project, completed in time for the High Holy Days.

The systems were integrated in both the synagogue’s main sanctuary and smaller Martin Meyer Auditorium. Pro Media/UltraSound Project Lead, Patrick Waller explains how this installation came about: “Emanu-El has a number of elderly congregants and others with hearing loss or impairment. There were some assistive listening systems in place, but they weren’t compatible with certain hearing aids, or were just not effective for some members. Judi Leff, Director of Projects and Programming at Emanue-El, is a longtime customer and friend of ours, and she contacted me about upgrading their assistive listening tools; we explored a number of options. Products from Listen Technologies immediately came to mind, but some of our ideas were not feasible right away, because the space’s marble floors prevent wiring/looping techniques. Listen Technologies let us know about their iDSP products, everything clicked into place for the project, and we were able to move forward immediately. Everyone at Listen Technologies was so helpful during the planning process, and the installation was seamless and efficient.”

Pro Media/UltraSound installed and commissioned the system quickly, to have everything in place in time for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services, which are two of the most well-attended services of the worship year.

“After the High Holy Days, we checked in with Judi to see how the iDSP systems had worked,” Waller says. “She said that there were several congregants for whom it made ahuge difference, and she even got a letter from one who had been part of the congregation for decades, and said that this is the first time she’s been able to really hear the service. And it was an easy installation – we basically got the system configured and handed it over to them. Plug and play!”

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