This profile was last updated in 2003
The Beth El Congregation was founded in 1925, when eight Jews adhering to Conservative Judaism began holding prayers in various private homes. After five years they established a synagogue (the first Conservative Synagogue in the area) in downtown Phoenix and held services there for 20 years. In 1950 the congregation moved to larger facilities in Phoenix before building the current synagogue on Glendale in 1962. Beth El is one of the oldest Jewish congregations in the Valley.
Activities and Schedule
The synagogue holds daily Minyan on weekdays at 7:15 a.m. and 5:45 p.m., with Shabbat services from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. A smaller, more interactive and explanatory “Family Shabbat Service” is also available. The community sponsors a Pre-school (open five days a week) and a Sunday School that meets Sundays and Wednesdays. The congregation publishes a monthly newsletter, the Beth El Echo. The congregation organizes a full range of activities for children and youth, including Hebrew lessons, field-trips, musical shows and athletics programs. Adults and young adults can choose to attend special musical concerts, or lectures to learn more about health issues. Over two dozen Havurot friendship and support groups arrange numerous activities to serve the broader community, including food drives, blood drives, toy collection programs and other programs to tie the congregation more closely with the community.
Composed mostly of Jews of European heritage, the congregation has the largest percentage of Holocaust survivors (approximately seven to eight percent) of any Jewish community in the Valley. About two thirds of the congregation is over the age of 60.