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.


Congregation Beth El is founded


Dedication of synagogue at 105 Hudson Rd in Sudbury



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.



First Bar/Bat Mitzvah Torah Class retreat



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



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



A group of congregants form the Beth El Tzedakah Collective



Congregation resettles Vietnamese Boat People

Beth El graduates its first Siyyum class



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



Beth El declares itself a sanctuary for Central American Refugees



Lorel Zar-Kessler becomes our first full time cantor


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



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

July 2001


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



Congregation Beth El launches the MetroWest Free Medical Program



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.



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.



Congregation Beth El celebrates its Jubilee year.



The congregation votes again to be a Sanctuary congregation