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 the Rabbi - On Religious Freedom

Responding to a Declaration of War on Religious Freedom

Before Hanukkah I wrote my annual critique of the Maccabees and the modern myth that has grown up around them, presenting them as fighting for religious freedom. Fighters they were, and religious, but religious freedom as we understand it -- the right of the individual to practice their religion as they see fit, or not to practice any religion -- that kind of liberty was not something they could have understood, the concept being entirely outside their historical context.

Part of the myth says that the Maccabees were rebelling against Hellenism. In his fascinating book, Heritage and Hellenism (1998) esteemed scholar Erich Gruen gives us essential background:

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