Who We Are

Naomi CropWhen you walk into Congregation Beth Israel, here are a few things you’ll discover:

We value traditionbut are open to new ways of understanding and approaching Jewish practice. Our services are egalitarian. We read the full Torah portion each week. Many women wear tallitot (prayer shawls) and kippot (head coverings) in services, but not all. Women and men help to lead services, read Torah and are counted in minyan.  Area college students and teens who have become bar or bat mitzvah also take an active role.

We care about Jewish learning. No matter your level of Jewish knowledge and practice—from beginner to never-went-to-Hebrew-School-after-b’nai-mitvah, from married-into-Judaism to Jewish macher— you are welcome to join us and learn more. Whether you’re just curious or searching for what Judaism means to you, you’ll find many classes to choose from, and our Rabbi and Cantor are always glad to answer your questions.

We love to sing. Whether our services are led by our Cantor or a lay member, everyone joins in. Don’t worry if you can’t carry a tune—some of us can’t, either! It’s the ruach, the spirit that counts.

We welcome participation. Leading services, reading Torah, volunteering for social action or helping with a synagogue fundraiser—there are many ways to get involved, and we’ll help you find your place.

We’re kid-friendly. There’s a toy box and a comfortable space for little ones to play, with parental supervision, right across the hall from the chapel. Toddlers often wander up and down the chapel aisle, and all our children who help lead singing at the end of services receive a sweet treat.

We like to eat together (hey, we’re Jews!). After Shabbat morning services, we all join in the Shapiro Social Hall for a sit-down Kiddush lunch. Everyone’s welcome (even if you come to services late). We also enjoy sharing festive holiday celebrations, family simchas, parties and more. One of the best things about eating together is getting to know each other better.

So, that’s a little taste of Beth Israel. But the best way to find out who we are is to come for a visit. You’ll find our schedule of services here. And you can make an appointment to meet our clergy here. We look forward to meeting you!