When you walk through the doors, the sense of community envelops you. The clergy are warm and welcoming as we learn, sing and pray together. Our leaders and clergy are the pillars of our community, creating an inclusive, welcoming and supportive environment. We have truly created a Beit Elohim, a house of G-d. Is this TBE? Yes. Yet I am also describing our sister congregation in Haifa, Ohel Avraham (OA).
Several years ago, TBE set out to explore what it truly meant to have a “sister” congregation. We considered how such a relationship could enrich our communities and values. How would such a connection between synagogues deepen our connection to Israel and how could we, in turn, strengthen and support a vibrant and growing Reform community in Israel? The hard work of TBE staff and clergy and the commitment of OA’s Rabbis, Gabby and Na’ama, laid the foundation of an amazing connection.
We traveled to Israel with our parent-teen program “Anafim” and, along with our Israeli counterparts, explored the concept of “peoplehood” in a unique exchange program. In July, members of our community traveled through Israel with members of OA to explore our shared vision for a pluralistic and inclusive Israel, and how our connection could support Reform Judaism both in America and Israel. Our Israeli friends opened up their homes and hearts. We ate, studied, laughed, ate more…and prayed together. The relationships we formed and the insights we gained have been transformational. Through this, we formed a meaningful partnership with a Reform congregation in Israel which is making the “on the ground” changes many of us deem crucial to the future of Israel.