Membership Committee welcomes you!

rita spitzer and ann suloway co-chair photo 2013

   As co-chairs of the Membership Committee, we welcome you to Congregation Beth Israel. Whether you are a longstanding member, a new member, an out-of-town visitor, or someone just curious to learn more about our synagogue, our committee is here to answer your questions and be of service.
   Congregation Beth Israel's membership includes more than 200 families – mostly from Whatcom and Skagit counties in Northwest Washington State. We are a Reform congregation, affiliated with the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ).
   Elsewhere on this website you will find detailed information about Shabbat services, our religious school, how we celebrate Jewish holidays and life cycle events, and the variety of Jewish-based programming we offer. We encourage you to spend some time perusing the site.
   We on the Membership Committee are here to respond to requests from prospective members about our congregation and also our region. If you are from out of town and will be visiting Bellingham, please contact us ahead of time and one of us would be happy to show you around and give you a tour of our city. If you are new to the area and decide to attend Friday night or Saturday morning services, please introduce yourself to us. We generally have a member from the committee serving as a greeter in the back of the sanctuary. We want to meet you and get to know you better!
   Each summer the Membership Committee holds an Ice Cream Social for prospective members in a fun, family-friendly, and informal setting. This is a great way to meet the Rabbi, the Board of Directors, and others considering joining our Jewish Community. Every winter the committee hosts a New Member Event to formally recognize and welcome those who have joined within the past year. Throughout the year we sponsor a variety of social events – often outside the synagogue – to encourage all members to get to know each other better and to deepen the bonds within our Jewish Community.

Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Ann Suloway                               Rita Spitzer
360-647-7031                             360-647-7065
asuloway@gmail.com      ritaspitzer01@gmail.com

Benefits of Membership

Beth Israel invites those who are interested in participating in synagogue activities and becoming part of the Jewish Community of Northwest Washington to join our congregation. We do require at least one member of your family be Jewish. Non-Jewish family members are welcomed and encouraged to participate fully. Currently, our membership includes more than 200 families – mostly from Whatcom and Skagit Counties and Southern British Columbia, Canada. We are a Reform Congregation and an affiliated member of the Union of Reform Judaism.

Our congregation, under the spiritual guidance of Rabbi Joshua Samuels, offers weekly Friday night Shabbat services, twice monthly Saturday morning Shabbat services, regular Torah Study sessions, and ritual observance of all Jewish Holidays throughout the year. All are welcome to attend.

In addition to High Holy Day observances, each year Congregation Beth Israel hosts a Community Seder at Passover, Purim Carnival and Purim Spiel, Chanukah Party, and a variety of other traditional celebrations. We often host guest speakers on Jewish topics, visiting scholars, and guest cantors who share their considerable talents with us.

Among the benefits of Beth Israel membership are:

  • Becoming part of a vibrant, active, and growing Jewish Community
  • Having a spiritual home for observing Jewish holidays and important life cycle events
  • Joining us as we reach our centennial milestone, and become part of the rich history and tapestry of our congregation
  • Participating in the building and consecrating of our new synagogue – ground-breaking begins soon
  • Receiving Bar and Bat Mitzvah training for boys and girls coming of age, or B'nai Mitzvah training for adults
  • Enrolling in Beth Israel's Religious School (kindergarten - 9th grade confirmation)
  • Becoming active in our youth group, NFTY-Northwest Chapter, that meets regularly for social and educational programs
  • Enjoying special programming for young children (Tot Shabbats)
  • Partaking of a variety of adult education classes on a wide range of Jewish topics
  • Enrolling in conversion classes for those wishing to become Jews
  • Receiving our monthly newsletter, Shul Shofar, to stay abreast of synagogue events and activities
  • Becoming active in Sisterhood or Brotherhood

We invite you to daven (pray), schmooze, and come celebrate Shabbat with us. Join Congregation Beth Israel and help us preserve our more than 5,700 year old Jewish heritage.

Membership Events

New Member Dinner 2012

Ten new families were welcomed into the Beth Israel community at a dinner hosted by the Membership Committee. About 40 people attended the Feb. 2012 dinner, which was followed by a Havdallah service.

More Information

Becoming a Jew
A pamphlet that answers basic questions about conversion in an easily accessible question and answer format.

Glossary of Words and Terms for Jewish Living
Judaism is more than just a religion: it's a culture, a language, a way of life. And, integrated fully into these Jewish traditions are unique words and sayings. Though words may have different roots or origins (Hebrew, Yiddish, German), their meanings are universal throughout the Jewish community. This glossary introduces some of the more common sayings appropriate for lifestyle and holiday events.

Intermarried? Reform Judaism Welcomes You
Yours, mine, ours: Every couple begins with two individuals from different backgrounds. Interfaith couples and their families also face the special challenges posed by different religious traditions and sometimes cultures. This pamphlet answers some basic questions and suggests some additional resources.

Recommended Reading for Interfaith Families
Dealing with interfaith issues can be difficult at times. And, finding relevant information and resources to help you through the matter can also be a challenge. The following list of resources may help you to begin the journey for answers.

What's Missing from Our Congregation?... YOU!
Created to examine the value of belonging to a synagogue and to dispel myths about synagogue membership, focusing on the synagogue as a house of worship, a house of assembly, and a house of learning.

What is Reform?

What is Reform Judaism?
Throughout history, Jews have remained firmly rooted in Jewish tradition, even as we learned much from our encounters with other cultures. Nevertheless, since its earliest days, Reform Judaism has asserted that a Judaism frozen in time is an heirloom, not a living fountain.

Resolutions
The positions of the Reform Movement are based primarily in two sources: Resolutions adopted by the Union for Reform Judaism, and resolutions adopted by the Central Conference of American Rabbis.