Congregational Life

When I moved to Cleveland with my three children, the first thing I did was look into joining a synagogue. I investigated a few to find the right fit for my family. As soon as I set foot in Beth Israel – The West Temple, I knew I had found a home. Enid Lader, now Rabbi Lader, gave me a personal tour and an enthusiastic welcome and I could see we wouldn’t be anonymous members of a big congregation. People were friendly and the services were relaxed and inviting, with singing, humor and real learning. The kids my children made friends with all shared the experience of being among the few Jews in their schools; here they got anchored in a Jewish community and I got the friendship and support I needed to help raise my family.

Another aspect of being part of a small congregation, however, is that you have to get involved, and that is a good thing. It’s not enough to just show up for holiday services or drop your kids off at Religious School. Parents stay, eat bagels and kibbutz. I attended a Bat Mitzvah early on and was amazed to see everyone helping to set up and prepare the Oneg Shabbat for the family. We are a congregation of volunteers. Not only do your dues really make a difference, but also your efforts and ideas make things happen. It breeds a sense of belonging.

When you become a member of Beth Israel – The West Temple, a new friend from our Membership Committee will call on you with a gift basket, answer your questions about the congregation, and find out about your interests. We will find a way to put your interests and skills to good use, and getting on a committee is a great way to meet people.

If you are Jewish, but unaffiliated, if you want people to share holiday celebrations with, if you like Jewish food and parties, if you like discussing Israel and current events, we’ve got it all. Torah study, Youth Groups, Adult Ed, Summer Camp, Art projects, Community Service and Fellowship are all waiting for you at Beth Israel-The West Temple. Join us and find your center for Jewish life on the west side.

Sandy Pankiw
Past Membership Chair