Bellingham Area Youth (BAY) is Congregation Beth Israel’s high school youth group, which is affiliated with the North American Federation for Temple Youth (NFTY). We provide a fun link between high-school students and the Jewish community. Our activities include social and spiritual events as well as Tikkun Olam. Check the congregation’s weekly e-mail for updates on activities and events. Contact the advisers to be added to the closed-group Facebook page.

Meet our advisers: Jason and Carly Benhaim

Hi there! We are excited to introduce ourselves as the new NFTY-BAY youth group advisers, and are thrilled to be taking on this role. We look forward to collaborating with the teens and parents of our congregation to bring relevant and engaging Jewish youth programming to Congregation Beth Israel.
The two of us have fairly different religious backgrounds; Jason grew up in Los Angeles, where he attended private Jewish schools like Valley Beth Shalom and Milken Community High School. He was also an active member of USY, the Conservative Jewish equivalent of NFTY. Carly grew up in Albuquerque without much in the way of religious education, but has been enthusiastically exploring her Judaism as an adult. The two of us met in Albuquerque, moved to the Pacific Northwest together in 2013, and were married in September of 2020. We are relatively new to Bellingham, but have enjoyed actively involving ourselves with this vibrant and welcoming community.
Professionally, Jason spent several years climbing the ladder at PCC Community Markets in Seattle before switching gears and becoming an academic coach (or, more colloquially, a private tutor). He works one-on-one with students of all ages and in all subjects to support them in meeting their academic goals. Carly, meanwhile, works remotely as a digital strategist at a small content studio.
In our spare time, we love to go hiking and backpacking; in 2016, the two of us thru-hiked all 2,650 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail together over the course of four and a half months. Jason has since thru-hiked the Pacific Northwest Trail as well, crossing the entire state of Washington on foot for a second time. We also enjoy reading, crafting, cooking, running, birdwatching, mushroom hunting, meditating, and generally exploring the Pacific Northwest. We hope to incorporate our love for the outdoors into some of the upcoming youth group events, but are also excited to work with the board in planning events aligned with their own unique interests.
We are open to feedback and suggestions from our fellow Beth Israel families, so please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at youthgroup@bethisraelbellingham.org

Check out our NFTY Events page for upcoming events

NFTY-NW’s first Kallah in Bellingham was also the first event in Beth Israel’s new building in 2018. Here are some photos at the synagogue and around town at the teen’s social action activities:

NFTY in Bellingham 2018

Bellingham teen served on National Board

Asher Suloway-Baker (front row, far right) was elected Communications Vice President for 2017-2018 NFTY North American Board during NFTY Convention in Chicago Feb. 17, 2017. From URJ President Rabbi Rick Jacobs:

asher on north american nfty boardDear Asher,
Mazel tov on your recent election as NFTY’s Communications Vice President! Your selection for this post is a fitting tribute to you and your commitment to Jewish life—now and into the future. From all that you have accomplished as the Communications Vice President for NFTY Northwest, to your role as the Youth Representative for your synagogue’s Board of Directors, I know that you will excel and thrive in this role. I look forward to working together with you and the rest of the NFTY board in the year ahead and hope that this endeavor will bring you joy and fulfillment. Yasher koach.


URJ Youth and College Programs

Our family of programs for ages 8 to 26 include NFTY teen programming, URJ Camps, Israel travel experiences and social justice programming at the Religious Action Center.

It’s never too early to start thinking about next summer at Camp or in Israel!
Ready to start planning the best Jewish summer experience for your child? The URJ Camps and Israel Programs are already planning for the summer of 2013! With high-caliber facilities, engaging programming, and a thoughtful and caring staff, we’ve been a vital part of the lives of tens of thousands of children for nearly six decades. Learn about session dates, program offerings, and request more information at our website.