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 160 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 the Rabbi: Difficult Times - Anti-Semitism in America & Authoritarianism in Israel

The midterm elections and recent convictions of January 6th conspirators give us hope that in the United States there is a robust rejection of extremism. We need it!

In the spring I organized a local Anti-Semitism Task Force to work both reactively to address incidents and proactively to prevent them. I’m also working with our Security Committee to update our protocol and offer ongoing safety education and training. As we cautiously begin hybrid events at the Temple, safety is our highest priority. We will have someone trained in our security measures on site for every service, class, meeting or cultural event. Please look for announcements in the coming months and plan to take the training. There will be in-person sessions and also video options. Eureka Police Chief Todd Jarvis is very supportive of our efforts. In July he wrote to me: “I worked closely with the ADL in San Diego and was honored to be included in some great training provided by them in Israel, Washington DC, and locally in San Diego.”

As troubling as it is to hear deranged rants and threats against Jews from insurrectionists, white supremacists, right-wing politicians and Black celebrities, both in public and on social media, it’s important to appreciate that these expressions of anti-Semitism are being soundly condemned by other community leaders. As I write this note, several American mayors are among over fifty mayors and municipal leaders from around the world meeting at the 2022 Mayors Antisemitism Summit in Athens, Greece.

How different world history might have been had mayors across the world rallied against hatred of Jews in the 1930s. It’s encouraging to note that so many leaders and writers are making the connection between anti-Semitism and other forms of violent bigotry. A society that tolerates any form of hatred opens the door to every hatred.

Last year I wrote hopefully about what was briefly called the “change government” in Israel. Tragically, that promising coalition fell apart and now is being replaced with the most right wing, authoritarian government in Israel’s history including the radical Jewish Power party, Otzma Yehudit - Wikipedia.