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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.

 Congregation Beth Israel of Media Presents:

A Gala to Celebrate Rabbi Linda Potemken's 18 Years at Beth Israel and to
Welcome Associate Rabbi Nathan Martin

Saturday, October 17th at 4:30 PM

$36/adult, $30/children age 10 and under

Gefilte Flicks on October 24, 2015

Join us for Gefilte Flicks. Doors open at 6:15 PM. This benefits the Beth Israel General Fund and will be accompanied with insights from our “lomdish” movie critic, Rabbi Helen. Click here for more information.


Tot Shabbat on Friday, November 13, 2015

Join us for a fun Tot Shabbat & family dinner!

Click here for more information and to register.


Read about our Green Faith Certification

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.


This is a season of welcoming. We greet a new moon, a new month, a season of introspection and many visitors to our community who are hoping that Congregation Beth Israel of Media will be the right place for them. It is my pleasure to engage in meetings and conversations with people and families who are searching for the right community. People seem drawn to us for a variety of reasons - the warmth, the culture of learning, the commitment to tikkun olam, the possibilities for spiritual and cultural growth, the sweetness of the Hebrew School. I believe that one key ingredient to our success is the culture of participation that defines Beth Israel (BI).

Our High Holiday services are filled with opportunities for anyone who so desires a role: Hebrew prayers; English readings; Instrumental or vocal music; Original words; Torah Honors; Ushering. BI takes it further. Our Selihot program - the program to help us prepare for Rosh Hashanah - includes a component on Teshuvah Through Art with an accomplished artist from our community. Our Tashlich program - casting out our sins symbolically by throwing crumbs into running water - will include a kayaking component. We manage to combine the Hamish with the avant-garde

As we prepare to welcome the new year we invite all comers to jump into the magic that is Beth Israel. Repentance is serious business - too difficult to undertake alone. Join us for classes, programs or services. Undertake the sacred work of Heshbon HaNefesh - the accounting of the soul and evaluation of one's deeds and misdeeds of the past year - with a supportive, interesting group of people.

The Hebrew for "welcome" is Baruchim Habaim, which translates - Blessed Are Those Who Come. May you be blessed as you enter the traditions of this season and the doors of Beth Israel. Welcome to a sacred season, a new year and the glorious possibilities of community.

Superheroes with Super Powers

If you were a superhero with superpowers how might you use them to heal the world? That was the question I asked a Hebrew School student who was struggling to identify a tikkun olam (repair the world/social action) Bar Mitzvah project. It turned out to be fruitful, as he immediately identified the heartbreak of homelessness, stating he would use his superpowers to shelter those in need. We then brainstormed about something a little more down-to-earth -how he might use his limited mortal powers to help those who are homeless.

We live in a miraculous and beautiful world that is also filled with tragedy and heartbreak. As Jews we are commanded to notice and to give thanks – to bless – that which is good, but also commanded to heal that which is broken. The text Pirket Avot brings us the famous quotation attributed to Rabbi Tarfon: "It is not your responsibility to finish the work [of perfecting the world], but you are not free to desist from it either" (2:16).

As a Jewish community, we are committed to taking part in the sacred work of tikkun olam. If only we were superheroes who could magically fix all the evils of the world... Sadly, we are not. But together, we can work toward building a world that is more just, peaceful and loving. On Yom Kippur afternoon – with our bellies empty and our hearts full – we will engage in the conversation our young Hebrew school student inspired- if we were superheroes, how would we heal the world? To what cause will we put our best tikkun olam efforts?

Beth Israel is proud to support these organizations


GreenFaith - Interfaith Partners for the Environment

Mazon | A Jewish Response to Hunger


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