Mission of Congregation Beth Am
We strive to live as a holy community whose study and practice of Judaism inspires and challenges us to “do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with our God" (Micah 6:8).
Who We Are
Beth Am is a dynamic multigenerational synagogue founded in 1955 to be a center of Reform Jewish life on the Peninsula. Our beautiful glass-walled sanctuary reflects our openness to the world around us, and our commitment to welcome all people with warmth and respect.
What We Do
We fulfill our mission through four pillars of congregational life: meaningful worship and spiritual growth; lifelong learning; acting as a caring and welcoming community; and the pursuit of tzedek (acts of justice and service to others).
Celebrating Shabbat with joy and peace is at the heart of our life together. Beth Am is nationally known for our outstanding educators and innovative programs in youth, adult and family learning. Our compassionate clergy provide personal attention and pastoral care; they inspire us to care for one another in simcha and in sorrow.
What We Stand For: Our Values and Commitments
We continually challenge ourselves to live more committed and meaningful Jewish lives, striving to deepen our learning, to grow spiritually, to expand our understanding and observance of mitzvot, and to progress in acts of service to others.
We value questions, encourage open and respectful dialogue and cherish freedom of thought.
We feel responsible for K’lal Yisrael (Jewish people everywhere) and are committed to the State of Israel, nurturing love for the land, the people, its language and culture.
We value diversity, practice inclusiveness and try to make all who enter our doors feel welcome.
We value our Reform heritage of creativity and innovation in response to the needs of the time.
We are committed to a vibrant lay-professional partnership, and to an open and democratic decision-making process.
We are committed to being a learning congregation, forever renewing ourselves and striving for excellence in all that we do.
Holy – Inspired by Leviticus chapter 19, which calls us to “be holy, for I, Adonai your God, am holy,” we strive to elevate every aspect of our life together. The root meaning of “kadosh,” the Hebrew word for “holy,” is “separate, set apart.” We understand this not in an insular sense, but as an obligation to create distinctive ways of seeing the world and transforming the world. Our synagogue culture, embodying the highest Jewish ethics and ideals, should help us to address destructive aspects of the secular culture in which we live. Through individual and collective action, we seek to bring holiness into the world around us by acting as a force for good.
Our shared Jewish practice helps us cultivate a sense of reverence for sacred time and sacred places. Each week we come together for music-filled, participatory worship services that help us experience the spiritual renewal, peace, joy and sense of celebration that Shabbat can bring.
Community – Our congregational community is lively and diverse, with backgrounds ranging from traditionally religious to secular. We are newcomers and long-time members; adults and children; individuals, couples and families; gay and straight; interfaith and multi-racial; Jews by birth and Jews by choice; non-Jewish partners and spouses. For many years we have offered special outreach programs for émigrés from the FSU, and many Israelis are finding a Jewish home at Beth Am. We commit ourselves to caring for one another in visible and concrete ways: welcoming strangers, celebrating with each other at times of joy and supporting each other through times of sadness.
To love kindness: Judaism teaches us to recognize the sacred worth and dignity of every human being – regardless of wealth, appearance, profession or social status -- for each of us bears the image of God. At Beth Am we strive to create an environment in which all people are honored and treated with compassion, kindness, warmth and understanding.
Walk humbly with our God: At Beth Am we cultivate an open and humble way of thinking about God, encompassing a broad spectrum of images and beliefs; accepting questions and doubt; able to understand anger and challenge as ways of engaging with the Divine. We respect the diversity of our members’ beliefs, and encourage all to learn and grow in their understanding of Jewish teachings about God. Seekers and skeptics join with those who are strong in their faith to create a community in which together we reach for the Most High.
- Worship at Beth Am: A Vision for the Future
- Community at Beth Am: A Vision for the Future
- Lifelong Learning at Beth Am: A Vision for the Future
- Tzedek (Justice) at Beth Am: A Vision for the Future