Beth Am Core Values
A group of members of our long range planning committee recently produced a statement of the central values that we share.
Services: We offer warm and meaningful services with an informal feel about them. We encourage liturgical experimentation and active participation of the laity in planning and leading worship. We recognize the importance of music to the worship experience and encourage creativity in this area as well. We support an active choir composed of congregants. To meet congregants’ spiritual needs and to nurture their interest in year-round participation, we offer a variety of service times and formats (Torah study, family services, kabbalat shabbat, etc.) and we vary the amount of Hebrew included in the services. Whenever possible, we follow services with food and/or discussion.
Education: We nurture lifelong learning. This includes 1) maintaining an outstanding Hebrew School that provides a foundation of traditional Jewish learning in a progressive context; and 2) offering stimulating adult education courses. For both of these programs, we strive to include the fruits of our study in our worship and we encourage congregants to teach or to assist teachers. We endeavor to integrate Hebrew School learning with home-based observance. Exposure to other worship traditions and involvement in service to the community are central features of our program of Bar/Bat Mitzvah study.
Rabbi: Our rabbi provides spiritual leadership through example. By sharing his or her vision, he or she provides direction to the congregation as a whole. Our rabbi challenges congregants to apply Jewish moral tenets to the complexities of modern life. (This paragraph is an introduction to a full job description detailing what the rabbi’s duties include. Call the office if you would like to receive a copy.)
People/Community: We make welcome a diverse membership (ages, sexual orientation, marital status, family configuration, “handicaps,” religions . . .even politics!). We encourage all to join and participate in the full range of temple activities, regardless of financial situation. We don’t take ourselves too seriously; we feel comfortable enough with each other to include humor in worship and other congregational activities. We nurture the development of a sense of community among diverse groups and the formation of friendships across the generations. We encourage the entire membership to participate in life-cycle events that celebrate members’ lives. We are sufficiently small to have the feel of an extended family. We provide support and solace to grieving, ill and homebound members and to those going through hard times.
Social Action: We endeavor to support a range of progressive causes within the community, on a national and international scale, and with regard to Israel. We advocate both within and outside the Reform movement. We seek to build bridges to other ethnic and religious groups within Washington Heights.
Copyright © 2001 Beth Am. Last updated 7.3.2001.