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Thank you for your interest in Congregation Beth El. We invite you to learn more about our community by joining us for services, attending events, touring the Thelma K. Reisman Preschool and Jewish Learning Center, meeting with our clergy and staff, and talking with our members.

We would love to learn more about you and help you explore Beth El. The members on this page are eager to share with you what makes our community so special. If you would like to take a minute to share your contact information someone will reach out to you right away!

Ready to become a member? Read about our membership categories and fill out a membership application.


My family and I joined Beth El in the spring of 2007. We were initially drawn to Beth El because of my children's fantastic experience in the preschool program. We ended up deciding to join because we loved the community of people and the spirit of the shul. Beth El embraces everyone, regardless of where each person may find themselves on their own spiritual journey. We have also been energized by the leadership of our incredible Rabbi. My children are now enrolled in the JLC which is a vibrant and thriving program. I look forward to talking to anyone interested in learning about this special community.





My husband, Matt, and I love being a part of the Beth El family! We had moved to South Orange in 2013, but hadn't been ready to commit to joining a synagogue. A couple of months after our son was born in 2014, we decided to join Beth El. We were welcomed with such open arms that we wondered why we didn't join as soon as we came to town! While my husband and I have different levels of Jewish knowledge, we both feel at home at Beth El. My husband loves participating in Men's Club events and has recently joined some adult education opportunities. I love being a part of the Membership Committee, leading services/reading Torah, and participating in Mini-Minyan with my son (who also loves come to the preschool each week for Toddler Time.) We feel privileged and honored to be a part of such an enriching, loving, open-minded and FUN multi-generational community!

We joined Beth El 11 years ago when we realized we wanted a Jewish community along with our neighborhood friends for our toddler and infant. We appreciated how welcoming Beth El people were and even though we were not very religious, we enjoyed socializing and seeing friends. Over time, my woodworking interests intersected with the need for a new Sukkah and for the last 6 years, I have enjoyed leading a crew of members to raise and take down the sukkah. One thing led to another and now as president of Men's Club, I enjoy creating community and ways that men can grow, help each other, help the community, and just have fun. We host many events throughout the year and our members' ages range from 30 to over 80! Please contact me or Scott Horowitz, our Vice President, with any questions or just join us at our next event.

My family joined Beth El in 2012, right before the birth or our first child. As a queer woman, I needed a community that would not merely tolerate my family but would welcome and support us in earnest. As a Jew-by-choice, I also searched for a spiritual home that would offer instruction and encouragement. Congregation Beth El is all this and more. Whether through formal classes or the patient guidance of fellow congregants, my comfort level with ritual and observance has drastically improved. I also feel very blessed to see Beth El actively involved in LGBTQ issues, as well as other important social issues. I am proud to raise my children here, and feel honored to be able to contribute to this special community. As Sisterhood president, I invite you to attend one of our events or to reach out with any questions you have.



Our family joined Congregation Beth El over 45 years ago when our twin daughters were just toddlers, and we have been active members ever since. We are fond of saying that Beth El is the family we chose. Our closest friendships are still with those we met as young members, and our lives are continually being enriched by the wonderful new relationships we are still forming today. Beth El welcomes and thrives because of the active involvement of our members, and over the years, I served on many committees and held a variety of leadership roles. My husband and I have the distinction of being the only couple who served (at different times) as the congregation's presidents, and today I continue to be involved in many aspects of life at Beth El. I serve on the board of our multi generational Sisterhood, am part of the Membership Committee, participate as a service leader on Shabbat, and helped inaugurate a Boomers and Beyond Group for the over 50's crowd.



My husband Seth and I joined Beth El in 2013, just a few weeks before our first child was born. We were moving from Washington, DC and looking for a vibrant, diverse community where members played a central role in services, programming, and education. Seth was raised in a very observant Conservative home, and I definitely was not! It was important to us to find a place where we were accepted as we were, but encouraged to continue our Jewish journey. Beth El is definitely that place. We bring 2.5 year-old Theodore and baby Vera to Mini-Minyan regularly and are involved in reading Torah, leading services, the Membership Committee, the Board of Trustees, Kitchen Cabinet, and just hanging out with our Beth El friends in and out of the building.




Two months after we moved to Maplewood, a neighbor heard that we were looking for a synagogue and told us about Beth Wl, where she was a member.  We decided to give it a try and were immediately welcomed by the rabbi and many longtime members.  I had grown up in a Reform synagogue, but from the start Beth El felt like home.  We’ve been members for ten years; our sons have gone through the preschool and Jewish Learning Center. This spring we are delighted to bring our older son to the Bima as a Bar Mitzvah.  



The strength of our synagogue is its membership. As part of our obligation to create a kehillah kedoshah – a holy community – we each must assume the responsibility of helping meet the financial requirements of our synagogue. Our member’s financial obligation is based on a dues schedule, with different categories designed to accommodate the diversity of our congregation.

Everyone can afford membership at Beth El. Financial assistance for dues is available on a confidential basis. Financial capability is never a barrier to membership. To discuss special financial arrangements, please call our Executive Director, Marc Colton.

Membership Categories

Membership runs from July 1 - June 30 each year. Dues are pro-rated for those joining mid-year. Please call Executive Director Marc Colton, in the office at 973-763-0111 or stop by to see him to discuss which category you fit into and the specific dues for that category.

  • Household Membership
    A household headed by one or more adults of the Jewish faith.
  • Individual Membership
    Individual membership is for one individual adult of the Jewish faith.
  • Under Age 36 (oldest member in household) and
    This category allows for a graduated dues schedule. The plan is deeply discounted in Year One and increases in Year Two until it reaches full membership dues in Year Three (Year Two rate only applies if oldest member is under age 36).
  • New Members with Children Entering our Thelma K. Reisman Preschool or Jewish Learning Center
    The "Under Age 36" dues schedule above applies.
  • Associate Membership
    For members who have moved out of New Jersey but would like to remain a non-voting member and receive all synagogue mailings.
  • Newlyweds
    A complimentary one-year membership for any couple married by Rabbi Olitzky (who are not Beth El members at the time of the wedding).


Building Fund

This is a one-time contribution for all new members, payable over a five year period. This fund is intended to help with the on-going maintenance of our facility, which our older members helped to create.

The Jewish Learning Center and Thelma K. Reisman Preschool

Tuition for these school programs is additional with enrollment offered to all members in good standing. School tuitions are discounted for members. Please see the Education section of our website for more information or call the individual directors.

High Holy Day Tickets

Couples receive two High Holy Day tickets and individuals receive one High Holy Day ticket as part of their membership benefits. Minor children do not need tickets. For additional tickets or reserved seating, please call the office for more information.

Membership Application

To access our membership application, click here. To submit this application, please drop it off or mail it to Congregation Beth El, 222 Irvington Avenue, South Orange, NJ 07079. Please feel free to email Rena Kaufman Abrams or Jill Mendelberg our Membership co-chairs with any additional questions or complete this form.

Keep Informed

To be added to our email list and receive weekly information about programs, life cycle events, holiday service schedules, etc., please email Marc Colton in the Beth El office. If you would like to receive synagogue mailings, please advise Marc as well.

Tue, April 16 2024 8 Nisan 5784