We are a liberal Jewish congregation that blends some features of a traditional synagogue with the “havurah” model of member-run congregations. Our members are of Jewish origin or have joined Beth El Congregation because of a Jewish life partner. Some members have joined because of a desire to have a household that cherishes Jewish values. We emphasize that all who wish to participate in Jewish life are welcome here, no matter how they have formed the attachment.
Beth El Congregation, based in the Hillel building at the UConn, sponsors a number of activities to help make Jewish life interesting and meaningful. Family Shabbat services, usually held in members’ homes and preceded by a pot-luck meal, take place one Friday a month during the school year. The services are participatory and informal, combining traditional and newer interpretive material; they are sometimes led by members and sometimes by Mark Frydenberg, our visiting religious leader, editor of the Siddur Chaverim Kol Yisrael, a user-friendly, trans-denominational prayerbook, published by KTAV. Services often include a discussion. Our High Holiday services are usually held in the Buchanan Auditorium of the Mansfield Library: they’re intimate, participatory, and filled with beautiful melodies, thanks to Mark Frydenberg and our visiting chazzan. We celebrate the other major holidays through congregation and religious school events. We offer a movie series, featuring movies from Israel or of general Jewish interest, and we gather for a variety of social activities, including a game night, a picnic, and a regular book club.
Throughout the academic year, the congregation offers a series of adult study sessions led by local Jewish leaders. Always, there is a penetrating discussion that helps us understand biblical text as relevant in our lives.
religious school, open to students K through bar mitzvah, meets on
Sunday mornings only. It features instruction in Hebrew, an
introduction to the traditional service (especially Shabbat), the
celebration of holidays, singing, stories, and crafts. It is taught
by adult members, UConn students, and alumni of our own school.