Mission and Values
Temple Beth Am is an inclusive Reform Jewish community pursuing joyous worship, engaged learning, and social justice.
What should a Reform Congregation be?
- It should be religious. We are not primarily a social organization or a cultural association or a political forum. We are here to serve an Intelligence higher than human, a Love greater than our own.
- It should be democratic. Our congregation has a splendid tradition of member participation. Let us encourage this tradition. Judaism is not for the Rabbi alone, or the Board alone, or the children alone; it is for all of us. A congregation does not belong to any one person or group.
- It should be creative. We need new answers for new times. Let us be bold enough to experiment. We are highly blessed in this congregation with intelligence and vision. Let us seize our opportunity, think anew, and extend the frontiers of Jewish life.
- It should be relevant. It must be relevant to the needs of society. A synagogue is an oasis for the world, not from the world. Wherever human beings are persecuted or oppressed, it is our concern. Heirs of the prophets, guardians of the moral tradition, we must be unalterably hostile to injustice.
- It should be learned. Let difference of opinion abound among us! Only let that opinion be informed. A people who have championed the mind certainly cannot be ignorant about their own religion. And surely in our congregation adults as well as children should be eagerly in pursuit of Jewish knowledge. Let our congregation be religious, democratic, creative, relevant and learned. But let us be all these things without self-righteousness, redeemed by humility and saved by a sense of humor.
Approved by the Board of Trustees on May 12, 1966.
We are a Reform Congregation that Values…
- Community: An extended Jewish family that is diverse, inclusive, welcoming, and egalitarian, not based on financial status or point of view.
- Worship: A Reform-based observance that is dynamic and participatory, permitting each person’s own level of observance. We encourage the use of Hebrew, gender-sensitive language, and modesty, with liturgical and musical variety.
- Tikkun Olam: Bringing peace, justice and equality to our community and the world. We provide the opportunities for individuals to be involved in this work.
- Education: Jewish educational opportunity for children, youth, families, and adults of all backgrounds. We encourage life-long learning of Torah, history, Hebrew, tradition, and culture.
- A Place of Holiness: A space that offers holiness, intimacy, serenity, comfort, and accessibility. We seek a modest environment with flexibility for gathering, learning, and celebration.
- Fiscal Responsibility: Fair sharing of membership dues, contributions, and participation in critical financial decisions to maintain fiscal stability.
- Involvement: Leadership and participation of our community, rabbis and professional staff.
- Ethical Behavior: Respect for people, property, our neighbors, and the environment. We accept growth of our community as an outcome of the continued adherence to our values.