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Welcome to Congregation Beth Israel of Media - ברוכים הבאים

We are a Reconstructionist congregation in Media, Pennsylvania. We strive to inspire and educate our members, providing them with a warm and nurturing community. We engage in Jewish learning, tikkun olam (repairing the world), and creating wonderful memories with terrific social events. Come join us!

Quick info for what's happening now

We have some great events this season. Come join us!
Check out recent events, too.

Winter Coat and Clothing Drive
Sunday, December 6, 9:30 am - 12 noon

We're collecting winter wear for men, women, and children.  New or gently used and clean: coats, sweaters, hats, gloves, scarves, snow clothing, warm socks (clean and new socks only, please).  Make sure the donated Items do not have stains, tears, or broken zippers.  Clothing will be delivered to Eastside Ministries.  They are in greater need for children's coats sizes 10 and up.

Light up the Nights of Chanukah
Come to our Shabbat Chanukah Party, Pot Luck, and Latkes Friday, December 11 at 6:30 PM

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Chanukah Chavurah in BI members' homes

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Winter Vacation Events at Beth Israel

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Read about our Green Faith Certification

Thanksgiving Message from Rabbi Linda

Yesterday (November 24) was my birthday on the Hebrew calendar and on the Gregorian calendar. I take a childlike delight in my birthday so this rare coincidence gave me additional pleasure. Like most women I balk as the numbers go up but this year I am relishing the higher number and giving thanks for my aging earth suit, also known as my body. As the years fly by and I witness too many untimely deaths, I am more committed to appreciating the gift of aging. My birthday always falls the week of Thanksgiving – another coincidence for which I am grateful. It is nice for me to share a slice of this week with extended family and to enjoy the holiday energy pulsating around me as people gear up for our national festival of gratitude.
Yesterday my first birthday treat came in the morning, when I had the privilege of accompanying a 10 month old baby to the mikvah. Some Jewish parents take their child to the mikvah to confer or affirm Jewish status if the mother or birthmother is not Jewish. This family, formed by adoption, made that decision and brought their lovely daughter to the community mikvah at Temple Beth Hillel/Beth El. It is always a privilege to accompany people to the mikvah but the bonus of holding this girl, this soulful bundle of sweetness and possibility, nourished me and touched me deeply. It is from that place - grounded in hope and love – that I wish to write to you.
I have wanted to write a new blog entry for the past two weeks, addressing the waves of hatred and fear that keep knocking us down. But as these waves manifest – in terrorism, in racism, in the gun violence that plagues our country and routinely takes out our neighbors in Chester, in too many ways – I have found that there is too much to say and that words are profoundly inadequate. But today, tucked in between these 2 days of sweetness, I can write to you. (Click "read more")

Come on board: There is much to celebrate in our Jewish journey

Just two weeks after we enjoyed the delightful festival of Sukkot our congregation created another occasion for joyful celebrating – the first Beth Israel Gala. This gathering was special in so many ways. I am enormously grateful to have my 18th anniversary with our community marked in such an uplifting manner. Thank you all for that!! What an achievement for any congregation to have sustained a relationship that has stood the test of time! I was equally moved to welcome Rabbi Nathan Martin, our first Associate Rabbi, who was quite delighted to celebrate with his new community in this way.
Many of us enjoyed the way in which we “cleaned up” so nicely as we dressed up for the occasion. We had such fun together. The lovely venue, the food, the camaraderie, the wonderful speeches, the formal dress in an informal, playful atmosphere all contributed to a great evening.
Most of all, it was a beautiful celebration of our community. Congregation Beth Israel is good at creating multiple opportunities for people to gather in meaningful and comforting ways. Whether one comes to the Gala, comes to more informal potluck Shabbat meals, attends services or classes or movie nights or committee projects – there are multiple opportunities to engage with interesting people of all ages. This truly is a welcoming Jewish community that embraces all comers. We are part of a long tradition in Judaism that places the emphasis on community as the organizing structure of Jewish life.
Isn’t it wonderful that our religious and moral path includes – no insists – on weaving joy, celebration and schmoozing into the Jewish journey? It does. Come on board. There is so much more to share.

The Holiness of Multiple Points of View

We don't always see eye to eye. This happens between partners, parents, and between parents and children. It also happens amongst the leaders of our congregation. Sometimes group decisions come easily and there is unanimity and at other times we wrestle with multiple perspectives. This is a good thing. The rabbinic concept called "machloket l'shem shamayim" - a dispute for the sake of heaven - is described in our sacred text, the Mishnah. A dispute for the sake of heaven implies the presence of God or of sacred values guiding our conversations. It is a dispute where the goal is to bring about the greatest good, not to satisfy the demands of the ego. It is one in which all parties behave respectfully toward one another. Even as they disagree, they work to maintain strong, peaceful relationships. Their dialogue advances mutual understanding. Each party remains receptive to the other party’s opinion, and goodwill is exhibited. Some say it is our nature to disagree. Many of us have heard the joke: two Jews, three opinions. Thoughtful people will present multiple points of view. But at times our own sight may be short-sighted. Over my eighteen years here I have appreciated the overall tone of our discourse at Beth Israel. Our conversations are respectful and interesting, inviting dialogue and thoughtfulness. When we inevitably veer off course, we support one another to make the subtle course corrections necessary to resume productive conversation. As we embark on a new year, let's remain open to multiple points of view in our community, in our workplace and with those who are nearest and dearest to us. And let's uphold the value of disagreement for the sake of heaven so that we grow in goodness, depth and wisdom in all of our relationships.

Beth Israel is proud to support these organizations


GreenFaith - Interfaith Partners for the Environment

Mazon | A Jewish Response to Hunger


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