Who We Are

Congregation Beth El is a diverse, inclusive, and egalitarian spiritual community affiliated with the Union for Reform Judaism. We welcome people of all races, ages, religious backgrounds, family constellations, sexual/gender orientations, and abilities. As liberal Jews, we make different choices in observance and we hold different beliefs, but we are united in our goal of making Judaism real in our daily lives. Our services are full of music, meditation and warmth along with learning, chanting and talking about Torah. We pray using Vetaher Libenu, the gender-neutral prayer book written and assembled by our own congregants.

Our History

Congregation Beth El has been on the cutting edge of American Jewish life since its founding in 1962. Innovation and creativity arise from the joint efforts of clergy and committed congregants. Our history demonstrates that every Beth El member has the ability to change the face of our community and our belief that every human being has the potential to change the world.

1962

Congregation Beth El is founded

1970

Dedication of synagogue at 105 Hudson Rd in Sudbury

1971

Congregation votes to affiliate with the Reform Movement and hires Rabbi Lawrence Kushner as its first full-time rabbi. He served in this position for 29 years.

1972

First Bar/Bat Mitzvah Torah Class retreat

1975

Two members of Congregation Beth El found Action for Soviet Jewry

Congregation publishes the first gender-neutral prayer book,  Vetaher Libenu

First congregational trip to Israel

1977

Rabbi Kushner begins the tradition of unrolling the entire Torah on Simchat Torah

1978

A group of congregants form the Beth El Tzedakah Collective

1979

Congregation resettles Vietnamese Boat People

Beth El graduates its first Siyyum class

1984

The congregation commissions the writing of our Sefer Torah (Torah scroll).

1987

Beth El declares itself a sanctuary for Central American Refugees

1990

Lorel Zar-Kessler becomes our first full time cantor

1992

Rabbi Kushner officiates at Beth El’s first same sex Jewish wedding.

2001

Congregation Beth El establishes a sister community relationship with the Jewish Community of Ceinfuegos, Cuba

July 2001

Rabbi David Thomas becomes Beth El’s second full-time rabbi

2004

Congregation Beth El launches the MetroWest Free Medical Program

2004

Massachusetts becomes the first state in the nation to legalize same sex marriage. Rabbi Thomas and Cantor Zar-Kessler perform the first same sex marriage at Beth El.

2006

Students from Chugim High School in Haifa come to Beth El, marking the beginning of the HiBuR Program for 10th graders. In March of 2007 Beth El sent a group of six student Ambassadors to Israel. Our first group, comprised of 10th and 11th graders, went to Israel in 2009.

2012

Congregation Beth El celebrates its Jubilee year.

2017

The congregation votes again to be a Sanctuary congregation