At Beth El Congregation of Baltimore, we dive into new experiences, embrace different perspectives, and expand our horizons. We support each other in expressing our Jewish individualities, pushing our spiritual boundaries, and delighting in unexpected discoveries. We’re haimish to be sure, but we’re so much more than “warm and welcoming” — we’re on a journey of mutual growth together.
Beth El’s mission is to help you make Judaism yours in every moment. We embrace the interplay between innovation and tradition as we strive to experience Judaism as central, indispensable, and relevant to 21st Century life.
Here’s what makes us, us:
We are deeply rooted. We immerse ourselves in Jewish tradition’s values, rituals, and wisdom, which anchor and guide us in an evolving world. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to enhance your Jewish identity, expand your Jewish knowledge, and (re)discover a personal Judaism that is deeply meaningful and relevant.
We give of ourselves fully. At Beth El, chesed (loving-kindness) isn’t just a warm-fuzzy concept — it’s our way of life. We believe that how we welcome and care for those in our midst defines us. You’ll experience it as soon as you walk through our doors: that feeling of being home. Our community is a deep well of comfort, guidance, and support. We express gratitude for our blessings by giving generously of ourselves to others within our broader local communities, the global Jewish community, Israel, and the world.
We strive to be awed by life. By bringing God and kedusha (holiness) into our everyday and sacred moments, we experience the sense of wonder that life can bring. Beth El members view the routine and milestone moments of their lives through a Jewish lens, which connects us to something greater than ourselves — a tradition and community upon which we can rely.
We explore and reveal possibilities. Creativity is an essential part of life at Beth El because imagination should be central to your spiritual life. We embrace the interplay between innovation and tradition, by applying timeless Jewish wisdom in a way that makes sense for our modern, everyday lives.
We are part of something bigger, together. At Beth El, you’ll find the space and support to embrace your Jewish identity in a way that works for you, surrounded by a no-judgment mindset that validates your Jewish journey, wherever you might be on that path.
In 1948, a small group of nine laymen, then all leaders of an Orthodox congregation, did not want to leave their synagogue but sought some changes in the style of the religious service. Primarily, they wanted to move toward an egalitarian synagogue by modifying the principle of separate seating by gender during worship services and an expansion in bat mitzvah rituals. They assumed that, since their rabbi studied at the Jewish Theological Seminary, the bastion of Conservative Judaism, they would be able to move the Congregation in their direction. These hopes were not destined to be fulfilled. Therefore, they determined to create a new synagogue congregation whose ideology would provide a basis from which to create the kind of synagogue they envisioned.
To achieve these goals our founders determined to create shared ideological understanding and consensus as to their mission. In that pursuit, they brought to Baltimore a series of distinguished leaders of the
Conservative Movement who helped educate them as to Conservatism’s message and ideology. In that pursuit, they brought to Baltimore a series of distinguished leaders of the Conservative Movement who helped educate them as to Conservatism’s message and ideology. Rabbi Artz, Solomon Goldman, Israel Kazis, and Solomon Grayzel addressed the new synagogue’s leaders on such issues as the Conservative view of Mitzvah and Jewish law, the evolving role of women, and modern views of worship.
The founders of Beth El laid the foundations for a synagogue whose message they envisioned would take root in the lives of their children. The founders hoped to preserve traditional Jewish values and life while confronting the challenges of modernity. They could not have imagined that the work of their hearts and hands would generate loyalty from literally thousands of families who became The Beth El Congregation.
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