Holidays & Festivals

Beth El observes the holidays of Jewish calendar with services, celebrations, study programs and opportunities for engagement and social action. A list of the dates of Jewish holidays in the current and coming years is available on the URJ website. For more information about the history, meaning and observance of the holidays, please follow the included links to the Union for Reform Judaism’s holiday pages.


Sukkot, at Beth El takes advantage of the beautiful fall weather in the Bay Area. Congregants of all ages decorate the sukkah together. During the week-long holiday we have many events at the synagogue and in the homes of members to celebrate the harvest holiday.

Simchat Torah celebrates the completion of the year-long cycle of reading the Torah. At this festive evening, we dance with the Torah to the accompaniment of a live band. We have a special tradition of unrolling an entire scroll so everyone can see it and feel closer to the Torah.

Chanukah isn't the same without latkes! On the Friday night of Chanukah, Beth El's men's club fries latkes for everyone. We share menorah lighting, dinner, and a joyful musical service.

Purim means fun! We raucously read the Scroll of Esther and add in costumes, along with a party, a costume parade and a carnival. View our full 2014 schedule at bethelberkeley.com/purim.

At Passover we gather at home and at the synagogue to celebrate the Seder and retell our most important and ancient story. In addition to our second night congregational Seder, we provide a Seder matching service for home Seders and offer classes and workshops on how to observe this wonderful time of year in meaningful and joyful ways. Register to attend our 2014 Congregational Second Night Seder here.

Shavuot, seven weeks after Passover, commemorates the revelation of the Torah at Mt. Sinai. Beth El joins with other East Bay congregations in sponsorship of an all-night study program at the Jewish Community Center of the East Bay.

Yizkor services to remember loved ones who have died are held four times a year, at Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Passover and Shavuot. Before each service, members are invited to attend a Yizkor Cricle where people share memories of loved ones with each other.

Please visit our home page for information on upcoming holidays, program and celebrations.