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COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT

When it was time to send our first child to preschool, we had many quality choices to choose from in Berkeley. Being a biracial family with one parent as a Jew-by-choice, made the intention to include Jewish learning in our lives a priority, and so we chose Beth El Nursery School, not knowing that this choice would shape our lives in such a profound way. 10 years later and with 2 children having gone through BENS and continuing on with the Youth and Family Education programs and now our first child soon to become a Bar Mitzvah, the roots that we have planted and connections that we have created at Congregation Beth El have never been stronger. The more we give in to the Congregation the more we receive back. Volunteering for various roles such as the gala committee, the adult education committee, the nominating committee, the racial equity, diversity, and inclusion committee has enriched our lives. There is a committee for everything and anything one could be interested in!

THE ROBINSON FAMILY, MEMBERS SINCE 2011

What first drew me to Beth El was the scholarly reflections at Torah study. There, I found a group of never satiated learners of the Torah who constantly wrestle with the text and the midrashim; and I loved that. Moreover, Beth El is deeply committed to Tikkun Olam, to social justice, and defending the disenfranchised who suffer because of their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or class. Personally, Rabbi Kahn, Rabbi Stern, and Cantor Jenkins-Adelberg have walked with me in re-embodying my Jewish roots, from being named to having an adult Bat Mitzvah and more. An older queer foreigner, I am very grateful to have found a vibrant Jewish community that honors my ancestors and the history of my people, as well as what is happening in the world right now.

DOMINIQUE LAMBERT-BLUM, MEMBER SINCE 2017

Our family has experienced firsthand the many opportunities to be part of the Beth El Community. Ashley has been part of Beth El since childhood, having attended BENS, Kee Tov, religious school, and completing her Bat Mitzvah. We both worked at Camp Kee Tov (and first met while on staff together!), and we now have the privilege of sending our children to BENS. Beth El means so much to us, as many of our best friends were made here. Beth El does a fantastic job of creating community and making all members feel like part of a family. We love how the bonds formed here last a lifetime and are passed to each new generation. Beth El's clergy are incredibly supportive and encourage each member to approach services and observances in any way they are comfortable. We feel so lucky to have been part of Beth El for so long and look forward to many more years.

THE WARNER COSTELLO FAMILY, MEMBERS SINCE 2019
ASHLEY'S PARENTS HAVE BEEN MEMBERS SINCE 1984

You can feel it when you walk in the door.  A place of prayer.  A place of study.  A place of community. CBE is my shul because it fulfills all three requirements for me.  As a lifelong Berkeleyan, I’m happy that my synagogue provides religious services balancing ancient tradition with a modern sensibility, opportunities to study Torah and Talmud with our amazingly knowledgeable community and clergy, and a strong sense of community.  There’s something for everyone at Beth El Berkeley, and I’m so grateful to have found my place.

YONATAN FRISCH, MEMBER SINCE 2019

Pride and Gratitude in Beth El. Our daughter Clara had her Bat Mitzvah in the sanctuary at Beth El in December of 2021 with our community able to show up for her. We realize the significance of this in the year 2021 when Covid variants were rampant. Yes, we shivered with the doors open and cold air blowing but the warmth leading up to the day and the warmth filling the space was infectious. We were so proud to get to share our Beth El with family and friends both on Zoom and in person.

THE LUNA PORTNOY FAMILY, MEMBERS SINCE 2017

Temple Beth El has been an anchor for our family for more than 40 years.  Good times - the nursery school, bar and bat mitzvahs for kids and grandkids, and Camp Kee Tov, and a gathering place during poignant, difficult and sad times.  A source of strength and spiritual learning.  The Beth El community is family.

SUE & JEFF BRAND, MEMBERS SINCE 1994

Mon, August 8 2022 11 Av 5782