TBT is a Conservative Congregation affiliated with United Synagogue of Conservative
Judaism, and committed to the observance of Halakhah (Jewish Law) as interpreted by
the Conservative Movement. With its motto of Tradition and Change
Conservative Movement brings a modern perspective to our ancient faith. Tradition
refers to the recognition that a Conservative synagogue's primary goal is to conserve
the Jewish people through the observance of Jewish tradition. Change recognizes that
Jewish tradition has evolved over time to meet the needs of each generation.
Temple Beth Torah is Warm, Friendly, Inclusive and Egalitarian
TBT was started in 1960 when a number of families decided they wanted to
fulfill their Jewish yearnings through a Conservative congregation. Since
that time, TBT has developed a style and mode of conduct that is warm, friendly,
inclusive, and egalitarian. The Congregation, Rabbi, and Cantor work harmoniously.
Congregants are encouraged to participate in all aspects of the Temple's activities,
with a special emphasis on educating ourselves about Judaism and developing our
understanding and commitment.
By warm and friendly, we mean that the Congregation considers itself to be an
extended family. We treat each other with respect, recognizing that we share
common interests and goals. We want to create a personal relationship among our
Congregants, as well as between them and our religious leadership. We recognize
that approaching God and participating in religious services may be difficult,
and that many of us may be unsure about what to do and what is expected of us.
Realizing this, we try to create an atmosphere that helps our Congregants feel
comfortable in the Sanctuary, as well as in the Social Hall and other TBT
facilities and events. TBT's membership is small enough that no one need remain
an anonymous name on a roster.
By inclusive, we mean that we invite your participation in all of our activities.
TBT is not 'run' by a small group of individuals, but by its full membership.
For example, TBT's Board of Trustees has more than 50 members. TBT's Shabbat
services are attended by more than 100 Congregants, even when there is no Bar
or Bat Mitzvah celebration. TBT's Kol Nidre Appeal has a participation rate of
more than 75%. In addition, many Congregants attend our weekly Adult Education classes.
We encourage your participation.
By egalitarian, we mean that women and men have the same rights and responsibilities.
Both are counted in the minyan, may be given aliyot and other honors, and can read
from the Torah and lead services. During the High Holidays, our Cantor leads a
volunteer choir comprised of male and female Congregants, which enhances these
services. And women as well as men play important roles in TBT's operations,
serving as president, as well as in other offices.
Temple Beth Torah Celebrates the Cycle of Jewish Life
Jewish life cycle events are often those that bring Jews to the synagogue.
First and foremost, we are a religious institution. We want you to share your
simchas, as well as your losses, with us. Your son's bris, your daughter's naming,
your child's Bar/Bat Mitzvah or wedding, even your sad occasions, are important to
all of us.
So, too, the Jewish calendar provides a framework in which TBT members operate,
from Shabbat to the High Holidays to Succot, Purim, Pesah, Shavuot, and Hanukkah.
We want to help you enhance your Jewish life, to learn more, observe more,
participate more. So, too, we want you to enhance the life of TBT. TBT conducts
services each Friday night, Saturday morning and afternoon, as well as during
each holiday during the year. We encourage your joining us to worship. The TBT
family is also committed to supporting shiva minyans and yahrtzeits.
Temple Beth Torah is a Cultural and Social Center for Members
TBT is also a cultural and social center for our Congregants. We offer a wide
range of activities that bring us together, that entertain and educate us. We
support Jews and Israel through social action, including our annual UJA-Federation
and Israel Bond events. So, too, the Rabbi's Charity Fund helps support Congregants
and countless others to get through difficult periods. And our Sisterhood and Men's
Club offer many opportunities for Congregants to meet and socialize throughout the year.
Volunteerism is very important, and the Congregation depends on its members for
a wide range of services. Although TBT is run on a business-like basis, collecting
dues, and meeting bills, much of the actual work is borne by our Congregants. While
our Rabbi is the interpreter of Halakhah and helps determine ritual practices; TBT's
bylaws place the ultimate responsibility for operations on the Congregation, through
our Board of Trustees. The Congregants, Rabbi, and Cantor collectively share
responsibilities. We join together to learn from our Rabbi's and Cantor's knowledge
and skills, allowing the Board to make informed decisions.
Temple Beth Torah Emphasizes Lifelong Jewish Education and Practice
Education is a very important aspect of being a Jew. It is a lifelong endeavor.
TBT offers Congregants many educational opportunities, including adult education
classes, personal discussions and instruction with the Rabbi and Cantor, sermons,
pamphlets, and TBT's mailings and newsletter. TBT is also a participating sponsor
of our local Institute for Adult Jewish Studies. Over the years, a significant number
of adults have attended and participated in many of these offerings. In so doing,
many Congregants have learned Hebrew and studied Jewish texts. Our Cantor ensures
that Congregants of all ages are involved. Through personal instruction, he has
taught many Congregants to chant the Haftarah and read from the Torah, including
dozens of adult women who have celebrated their Bat Mitzvah with us, a privilege
they had missed when they were younger.
Education for our children begins when they are in kindergarten and first grade.
The first years are introductory, and our formal education program begins with a
child's entrance into third grade. We require five years of formal education for a
child to be eligible to celebrate Bar/Bat Mitzvah at TBT. This educational program
requires school attendance two days a week and participation in Junior Congregation.
It also offers youth groups, Junior Choir, and other activities.
TBT's goal is to foster an understanding of our heritage and values. We hope to
achieve Jewish literacy, including the ability to read Hebrew, and familiarity with
the Jewish calendar and holidays. We also want our children to be comfortable at
Our children have been praised for their conduct on the bimah when they
celebrate their Bar/Bat Mitzvah. This is largely due to the caring and
comprehensive attention given by our Cantor, who offers individualized
instruction. Students are expected to reach their maximum capability, including
chanting the Friday night Kiddush, chanting the Haftarah and reading from the Torah,
and leading parts of the Shabbat morning service. This is achieved through an
admittedly intensive and demanding full-year program of training. The celebration
will bring you much pride and 'nachas,' but it also requires your, as well as your
child's, cooperation and support.
Education should not, and does not, end with a child's reaching Bar/Bat Mitzvah.
It is then that our children become mature enough to begin to more fully appreciate
our Jewish heritage. To this end, TBT invites our teenagers to participate in post-
Bar/Bat Mitzvah classes and in United Synagogue Youth (USY) programs, as well as in
innovative and individualized educational opportunities. Our Rabbi encourages this
continued participation through formal and informal offerings. Our Cantor encourages
participation as our post- Bar/Bat Mitzvah teenagers are called on to read from the
Megillah on Purim and from the Torah during the High Holidays.
With today's challenges of assimilation, intermarriage, and competing interests,
it is especially important that all Congregants - male and female, parent and child -
participate as active members of the Temple Beth Torah family. We invite you and your
family to join us.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Rabbi Michael Katz,
Cantor Kalman Fliegelman, our President, or our Membership Vice Presidents.
Everyone at Temple Beth Torah is eager to help you in any way we can.