B’ruchim HaBayim ~ Welcome!

Founded over 60 years ago, Temple Beth El serves the Jewish community of Humboldt County and provides a Jewish perspective in interfaith endeavors. We are proudly affiliated with the Union for Reform Judaism. Our members come from many different religious, cultural and ethnic backgrounds. We welcome Jewish and interfaith families and individuals, including those who are new to Jewish study and practice. We are a Welcoming Synagogue, dedicated to inclusion of all gender identities and orientations. 

Our programs are designed to meet the diverse spiritual, intellectual, and social needs of our approximately 130 member households. We gather to celebrate holidays, learn about our heritage, and support one another in times of joy and sorrow. Our rituals include prayer and song in Hebrew and English, Torah services and study, dancing and meditation led by our longtime spiritual leader, Rabbi Naomi Steinberg, our Temple Beth El Choir, and our dedicated Tefilah Leaders, including Rabbi Bob Rottenberg.  We offer a wide range of cultural events and educational classes with an emphasis on deepening our connection to tradition, understanding Jewish history, and exploring the complexity and depth of relationships between North American Jewry and Jews around the world.

We work together on local, statewide, national and international social and environmental issues, including climate, human rights, reproductive justice, and gun violence prevention. We seek out opportunities to support our local Native American, Black, Muslim and immigrant communities.

We both honor traditions and embrace innovation. We warmly welcome visitors to our events and our website!

From Rabbi Naomi - Antisemitic Flyers in Humboldt County

As many of you have heard, this week antisemitic flyers were found in residential neighborhoods in Arcata, Scotia, Rio Dell, and at Temple Beth El and in the surrounding neighborhood.  Thankfully in all locales concerned residents notified the police and collected the offensive materials.  The incidents were reported to the Anti-Defamation League and I received a helpful letter from Nancy Appel, Assistant Regional Director of the ADL:

“ADL has been tracking the small and fringe network of individuals responsible for the flyers since its inception several years ago.  It is known for its public stunts in select states, such as antisemitic banner drops over major highways and coordinated propaganda distributions.  The group’s actions are designed to garner publicity, harass and troll Jews, spread communal fear, and project the false image the network is larger than its actual numbers.

The group does not have a known record of calling for or committing violence.  Regardless, we always encourage community members to file police reports so law enforcement agencies can investigate and document the activity.”

Ms. Appel has reached out to Arcata and Eureka Police Departments, Sheriff Honsul, DA Fleming, and the Board of Supervisors offering support and resources.

Our new Anti-Semitism Task Force met for the first time in May.  We are developing protocols for both responding to incidents and taking proactive measures to educate and inform the Jewish community and the community at large.  If you are interested in serving on this Task Force, please contact me.

I called Rabbi Eliyahu Cowan of Chabad to discuss the situation and invited him to attend our upcoming Task Force meeting. I expressed our deep concern for his safety.

This morning I spoke with news reporter Jackson Guilfoil of the Times-Standard.  I encouraged him not to quote the antisemitic messages on the flyers to avoid giving the perpetrators a platform for their offensive views. I am going to encourage the Task Force to write recommendations for local media.

Very supportive comments have been made by concerned neighbors on social media. Please express your gratitude if you read helpful comments online.  I’ll start working on a public letter of thanks.

Sadly, security issues will impact our reopening plans, but I’m confident that we’ll find a way to meet again in person with minimal risk to health and no risks to safety.

Shabbat shalom,

Rabbi Naomi

If You Care, Get Vaccinated

Dear Temple Beth El Members and Friends,

As our County grapples with a soaring rate of Covid infections, it's important for each of us to use our influence to encourage family, friends, neighbors and co-workers to get vaccinated. Please feel free to circulate this editorial I wrote with Father Daniel London:

"If You Care, Get Vaccinated."


B'shalom - In peace, Rabbi Naomi