Founders Shabbat at Beth El Congregation

As congregants entered Beth El this past Shabbat morning, they were greeted at the door by David Harrison, President of Beth El Congregation. Once inside the lobby, several past presidents and other volunteers handed out commemorative 75th anniversary kippot. 

Hundreds of attendees filled the Berman—Rubin sanctuary, while others watched online. The service began as any typical Shabbat morning, but there was nothing typical about this day. 

Generations of congregants gathered during Founders Shabbat to honor the founding families and current members of Beth El. During special aliyot, members were called to the bimah based on the year their families joined Beth El. As Rabbi Dana Saroken recalled her earliest memories of Beth El, she asked each of us to reflect on our first experience at Beth El. For some it may have been decades ago and for others, only a few months. 

During his sermon, Rabbi Schwartz shared the history of our beloved synagogue. Started with a vision and transformed over 75 years into a vibrant congregation with over 1500 families. 

After the Torah portion of the service, several members of the clergy quietly left the bimah. They returned moments later wearing Beth El’s signature blue robes, not seen by many in nearly 16 years. 

The morning service was also an opportunity for our community to honor and thank those who are currently serving and those who have previously served in the military. As the service concluded, Cantor King ensured he included each branch of the military, in a joyous rendition of Adon Olam

Following services, a celebratory kiddush was held in the Offit Auditorium. A delicious spread of food stretched nearly the entire length of the room, courtesy of Lindsay and his incredible team. Hundreds of congregants spent the afternoon sharing stories from the past, while also expressing excitement for the future. 

A special thank you to all the volunteers and members of the Beth El staff who worked tirelessly to ensure this was a Shabbat that will be remembered for years to come. 

75th Anniversary Co-chairs

Denise and Keith Franz

Jill Baldinger and Steve Levin 

Founders Shabbat event chairs

Jerry Janofsky, Dale Kahn, and Gail Willoughby

A link to the Founders Shabbat service can be found here:

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