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!

Rabbi Naomi’s Passover Message 2023

Why is this Passover different from all other Passovers?

On all other Passovers we’ve discussed injustice, tyranny and the longing for liberation. On this Passover we must do everything we can to redress the planetary injustice of climate crisis, to stand up to tyrannical movements here in the United States and across the world, and respond to the younger generations’ desperate longing to be liberated from the enslavements of poverty, hatred, war, and environmental disaster.  

In Biblical Hebrew the land of Egypt is called Mitzrayim meaning “the narrow place.” All of humanity and all other species are passing through a narrow place such as we’ve never seen before. The recent report by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change gave us a stark warning: we have only a decade left to take action to avoid the worst outcome - Climate Change Is Speeding Toward Catastrophe

In our great liberation story, Moses, Miriam and Aaron lead the Israelite people out of bondage and into the unknown of the wilderness and the future. Having lived as slaves for hundreds of years, they must learn how to become a functioning society. Moses ascends Mount Sinai and brings down divine guidance in the form of laws and rules for wholesome, righteous living and meaningful worship to maintain the human-Divine connection. While Moses is up on the mountain, the people grow anxious and demand that Aaron let them build an idol, a calf made of gold, something they can see and worship in the ways of Egypt. That tale ends badly, making it abundantly clear that we are not to worship material objects, most especially gold.