OUR STORY

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This is our connection. This is our legacy. This is our future.

Since 1952, Beth El is where we have come together. To celebrate and to mourn. To educate our children and ourselves. To join together in worship. And to volunteer, care for, and love each other as we all do our small part to repair the world.

Year in and year out, we are here forming close, long-lasting friendships both in the building and beyond these walls.

And just as the High Holidays mark for each of us the passage of time, it is this place — this building, these people, this set of timeless traditions and values — that marks the roots of who we are as individuals.

Beth El connects us to each other, and to ourselves.

Beth El is the link. Connecting generations, connecting families, connecting our past and our birthright to our future and the coming generations.

This is something special. We welcome you to join us.

Timeline

1952

Eleven families form the “Fairfield Jewish Community Group” and hold weekly services in members’ homes and elementary schools.

1954

First High Holiday services are held in the American Legion Hall under volunteer cantor Charles R. Feld.

1955

First Sunday school classes are conducted in Fairfield Woods School and Osborn Hill School with nineteen children.

1957

First rabbinical leader, Rabbi Arthur Haselkorn, is hired.

A Growth Spurt

1959

Rabbi Jack Bloom takes the pulpit.

1960

The Board of Directors approves a change of name to Congregation Beth El of Fairfield.

1961

Groundbreaking takes place for Beth El’s new home at 1200 Fairfield Woods Road.

1967

Beth El purchases fifty cemetery plots from Workman’s Circle, and fifty more just six months later.

A Time of Transition and New Leadership

1972

Rabbi Leon Waldman becomes rabbi, and leads the growth of a strong and involved congregation for the next thirty-two years.

1973

Beth El is recognized as the first truly egalitarian Conservative synagogue in Connecticut.

Beth El receives a Holocaust Torah from the Czech city of Kladno.

1974

Beth El Sisterhood is born, and sponsors its first interfaith Sukkot luncheon with just fifteen people.

1976

First female President of a Conservative synagogue in Connecticut, Hyla Loewith, is inaugurated at Beth El.

1981

With Beth El’s continuing growth, an enlarged, permanent sanctuary, synagogue offices, and an expanded kitchen are constructed.

1982

Rabbi Waldman leads the founding of Operation Hope, and serves as its first president.

1990

Still growing, another addition is built, offering a privacy room, gift shop, and new offices for the staff, Rabbi, and Cantor.

1998

Cantor Feld is honored in recognition of his retirement after forty-six years of service.

Capital Contributions and Outstanding Programs

1999

Beth El kicks off a $750,000 capital campaign to retire the mortgage and fund necessary improvements. Over $1 million is raised in the first year.

2004

Rabbi Daniel Satlow joins Beth El, making an immediate and wonderful impact with Friday night Kabbalat services at the beach.

2006

The Torah Project raises over $500,000 and commissions the creation of a new Torah, in which scores of congregants perform the mitzvah of writing a letter.

2006

K’tanim Preschool is established, bringing new life and laughter to Beth El’s hallways.

2012

Rabbi Marcelo Kormis comes to Beth El from his pulpit in Chile, adding much to our congregation with his personal warmth, dedication, and leadership.

2016

Hazzan Brian Shamash is welcomed to our community, inspiring a renewed spirit and enthusiasm, and filling services with song.

2017

Sixty-five years ago, our founders had the foresight, energy, and willingness to create and sustain Congregation Beth El. To honor their legacy, the Atid Campaign for Beth El’s endowment raises almost $1.5 Million — and counting.

“YEAR IN AND YEAR OUT, THIS IS WHERE WE HAVE COME TOGETHER. BETH EL CONNECTS US — TO EACH OTHER, TO OUR PAST, AND TO THE COMING GENERATIONS.” DONATE NOW