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A Message from Benita Felmus, President of Temple Beth-El

Dear Congregants,

I hope everyone had an easy fast and Shana Tova.  I want to give a shout out to the members of the Executive Committee who each sat on the Bimah during the High Holiday Services.  Below is the speech I gave on Yom Kippur morning. As you read, I hope you are moved to support Beth-El during the High Holiday campaign (use form on this page), as these gifts are vital to the Temple's operation and success. If you have already given, I thank you! 

L’Shana Tova!
To start, let’s talk about the elephant in the room, Oh, I meant the ELEVATOR. We had it inspected 1 month ago and it passed, so we thought we were okay.  But, after 42 years, the motor died.  So to fix the elevator, the hydraulic fluid needs to be drained (125 gallons) and the drip that caused the motor to rust needs to be found and fixed.  Estimated cost of repair is $25,000 with 14-week lead time. This week we have installed a chair Lift on the Ladies Room side of the stairs for those who need the assistance.  The elevator repair will come as our plans for renovation solidify.
CAVentures, the folks who purchased the property between the Religious School and Montessori are in the process of having the final drawings approved by the County. They have notified us that the sale will close prior to Thanksgiving.
The Site Committee reviewed three Architectural Firms for the renovation work at Grove Ave. campus, and they chose Huff Morris Architects.  They are local, have done over 200 Houses of Worship and come with wonderful references.  They have started by taking measurements of our facility with next steps to meet with members of the Site Committee and Clergy to develop drawings for the Congregation to review prior to deciding what work needs to be done.  As materials are available we will share.
Surveys- Oh no, not another one! We have had several surveys in the last couple of months trying to understand what the membership wants from the Temple.  Thank you to the 139 members (35%) and 12 non-members who responded to the Membership Engagement and Satisfaction Survey. With the help of Michael Doniger and GD Rothenberg, we have started to digest the data we collected.  Approximately, half of the respondents were over 65 years old, 76% were couples or families, 66% have been members for over 15 years and 24% are new members in the last 5 years.  The rating for overall experience was 67% above average or excellent.  Ritual observances and attending services were the #1 reason people belong but surprisingly additional social programming was clearly of interest above and beyond our successful Havurah, now in its 4th year, plus Sisterhood and the Men’s Club activities.  Of course there are areas to improve and focus on. Chris Greenberg, as Chair of Membership, along with staff members Faith and Hannah are working on new ideas to create more opportunities for family and adult social programs. We continue to review your responses and will share more as the analyses are completed.
Finances as always are challenging and difficult to talk about.   The Budget and Finance Committee have been analyzing the numbers to determine where we are  falling short and why.   Our annual budget has been steadily hovering at $1 Million for many years and our membership has hovered around 400 family units for years too. Cost cutting has been done multiple times and we think there is little left to reduce.  So basically it comes to this…if each membership unit could pay $2600 per year, we would not have a deficit.  This takes into account donation projections, endowment funds and our expenses, which by enlarge, are salaries and maintaining a 85-year-old facility.  Renovations and improvements to the infrastructure will help with these expenses.  Think about how you can help the Temple, whether it’s providing services or making a larger donation this year, or paying more in dues.  It takes all of us to sustain this Community!

I would like to offer this prayer for those who serve the Community:
May God who blessed our ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah, bless this entire congregation together with all holy congregations: them, their sons, and daughters, their families, and all that is theirs; along with those who unite to establish synagogues for prayer, and those who enter them to pray and those who give funds for heat and light, and wine for Kiddush and Havdalah, bread to the wayfarer and charity to the poor; and all who devotedly involve themselves with the needs of this community and the Land of Israel.  May the Holy One reward them, remove sickness from them, heal them, and forgive their sins.  May God bless them by making all their worthy endeavors prosper, as well as those of the entire people of Israel.  And let us say Amen.
Lastly – I want to thank the staff that does so much behind the scenes at all hours of the day – Faith, Hannah, Norma, Josephine, Kris part time and Krista from afar. If you see one of them say thank you!  They don’t get enough recognition.
To Rabbi and Cantor who work for months to make our High
Holy Day experiences one of inspiration – Yasha Kocha.
Happy New Year to all.




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Yom Kippur Appeal 2019

Thank you for your donation! No matter the amount, your generosity is appreciated!

Service & Event Schedule


Sukkot & Simchat Torah

All events are at Grove Ave., and the Sukkah is located in the breezeway between the Temple and Administration buildings.

Erev Shabbat Sukkot - Southern in the Sukkah • Friday, October 18
6:00 pm   Services in Main Sanctuary
7:00 pm  Southern in the Sukkah congregational dinner Register Here
afterwards: Sippin’ in the Sukkah for adults

Shabbat Hal Ha-Mo'ed • Saturday, October 19
10:00 am  Services in Main Sanctuary followed by Kiddush Lunch in the Sukkah

Hoshana Raba • Sunday, October 20
9:00 am  Services, Religious School
11:00 am Consecration and School Simchat Torah, Religious School

Shemini Atzeret/Yizkor • Monday, October 21
10:00 am Main Sanctuary 
Plaque Dedications for Edythe Hoffman and Pearl Markham

Erev Simchat Torah • Monday, October 21
7:00 pm  Simchat Torah Celebration for all ages (Social Hall)
Dancing and festivities with the Underground Band  Register Here

Simchat Torah • Tuesday, October 22
10:00 am Service (Main Sanctuary) followed by Honorees’  Luncheon (Social Hall)

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Thu, April 9 2020 15 Nisan 5780