BET ALEF MEDITATIVE SYNAGOGUE

Rating: 5 stars   64 reviews

Issues: Religion

Location: 12351 Lake City Way Ne Ste 201 Seattle WA 98125 USA

Mission:
2009 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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EIN 95-4462148
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

10 people found this review helpful

When I moved to Seattle over 3 years ago, one of the reasons I decided was because I knew that Bet Alef was there. I knew Rabbi Ted as a child and knew that there would be a supportive community for me. I wasn't disappointed. I love going to services and the Torah study classes are amazing. I've learned so much in the last few years and think I've grown as a Jew. Bet Alef is the synagogue for me. Also on a note, people who I've brought to services,both Jews and non-Jews have had amazing experiences. They found Bet Alef to be a warm, inviting community and found the services to be very meaningful.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my ability to learn and grow as a Jew.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

warm, inviting, and inclusive. They truly care about helping people grow, as people, and as Jews.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

reach lots of people and really make a huge impact. Our spiritual path is welcoming and could help a lot of people, both Jew and non-Jew.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-11-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

10 people found this review helpful

I hadn't been to a synagogue in 30 years when a friend insisted I had to join her at services at Bet Alef. I have tried to never miss a Shabbat service since then, 5 years ago. The message at Bet Alef is inclusive and medititative. It speaks to my heart. Not only the messages of the wonderful Rabbis, but the welcoming friends one can immediately connect with make this my community! I love the diversity and open-heartedness of the community and the very personal touch of Rabbi Olivier BenHaim as well as the message and meditations of Rabbi Ted Falcon who drew me in at my first service.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

many ways!

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Personal involvement

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Terrific!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-11-01

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Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 5 stars  

8 people found this review helpful

When I first walked into a Bet Alef Friday night service, it felt like I had come Home. I had always wanted to feel more connected to my Jewishness in a deeper way, and in the almost nine years that I have been attending Bet Alef, this has become possible for me. I love the beauty and joy in our songs. Belonging to Tiferet was a wonderful experience for me, I miss that very much. I don't know if it is possible to have another singing group, but it was great to have the reunion during the High Holidays. I would like to have a tighter knit community. I appreciate the outreach when I was in a dire time of need.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

That it has been so enriching for my life and has supported the changes in my life.

Ways to make it better...

I would like to see a committee that reaches out to memebers who haven't been to services or participating in a while and try to include them again.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Financial and ways to grow membership.

One thing I'd also say is that...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-10-01

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Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 5 stars  

9 people found this review helpful

We are an interfaith couple - My husband, the non-Jewish element, feels that the synagogue is very inclusive. Also, it is important that a rabbi be willing to thoroughly explore questions about Judaism without feeling threatened. Rabbis at Bet Alef make us feel comfortable with our level of knowledge. The spirit is as important as the doctrine there.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Its inclusiveness and accessibility.

Ways to make it better...

I wish I had more time to spend there!

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

One thing I'd also say is that...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-10-01

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Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 5 stars  

9 people found this review helpful

As a "recovering Catholic," for over 30 years I had been longing for an entree into Judaism. The first time I attended a service at Bet Alef, I knew I was home. The teachings, the music, the inclusiveness, the warmth of the community have fed my soul as no other religious experience ever has. I will be forever grateful to Rabbi Ted for welcoming me into the Tribe, and to Rabbi Olivier for his luminous spirit and love of the way of Torah.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

every aspect of my life. I am a much kinder, gentler person because of the teachings and examples I have experienced at Bet Alef.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the sense of belonging to a faith community that is eager to walk the path of Torah in all the beautiful, individual ways that life offers.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

open, generous, enthusiastic, kind, thoughtful, fantastic!

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

gather up sparks of divinity far and wide and make this world a much better place!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-11-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

I came to Bet Alef 13 years ago, after my Orthodox husband had died, and I came out as a gay woman late in life. My first service was Rosh Hoshana in 1996, and I left in tears, feeling that I'd finally found the place of spirituality I'd been looking for all my life. Rabbi Ted was a wonder, supportive of all, a great teacher, and a compassionate "every man!" Now upon his retirement, we are so blessed to have someone like Olivier leading us to our next level. He shares Ted's love of knowledge, wonderful sense of humor, and I'm so impressed with him as a teacher. We are truly twice blessed to have such leaders in our community. We truly are a synagogue for all people!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

every aspect of my life from volunteering to being a participant in extra learning activities.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the fantastic spiritual leaders and warmth of the community in general.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

devoted, friendly, funny, warm

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

bring inner peace and understanding to so many people.

Ways to make it better...

I didn't live so far away!

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

financial.

One thing I'd also say is that...

My association with Bet Alef for the past 13 years has totally changed my life for the better. It has helped me weather a myriad of health and other problems with the support I find there.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-11-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

5 people found this review helpful

Who knew that a Craigslist job would lead me to my spiritual home? I first learned about Bet Alef when applying for the admin job, and it seemed a dream come true when I found a community that allowed me to explore my Jewish heritage. The experience has been more than I ever expected. Working in the office has given me a lot of insight into the work and passion it takes to make this community come together, and I have an immense respect and appreciation for each and every person who makes this congregation what it is, not the least of all Rabbi Ted and Rabbi Olivier. I am delighted to be here and be able to support the community as Rabbi Olivier leads the Bet Alef into new and wonderful places. I look forward to Rabbi Olivier officiating my wedding and starting a family in this community. Having grown up with very spiritual roots, finding Bet Alef has been the way for me explore and embrace my Jewish heritage in a deeply personal that has already changed my life for the better.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my increasing ability to feel peace in times of personal struggle, and to embrace the parts of myself that I never have before.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

want the community to have both an Executive and Admin Support staff (though this is a current financial impossibility). I would also love to have some Seattle services and eventually a facility of our own.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

meeting such an awesome community! Getting to see everyone at Shabbat is like coming home to my family. It has been the first time in my life that I can share and be spported in my spirituality.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

do indescribable good for its community and the world as a whole. I would love to see this community thriving so that we could reach out more to those in need.

Ways to make it better...

there had been an Executive while I was working in the office. It is hard to describe how much work it really is to run the organization.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

financial. There is an immense amount of behind-the-scenes work and struggle that go into supporting Bet Alef, and it feels impossible sometimes knowing that we don't have the money to support our staff or membership the ways we wish we could.

One thing I'd also say is that...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-11-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

4 people found this review helpful

Bet Alef is an extraordinary spiritual, inclusive community that is firmly rooted in the Jewish tradition. And yet it is so much more than that. The first time I attended a service at Bet Alef, I found myself in tears--I was deeply moved and stunned to realize that I could have found a spiritual community to be my home. Though my spirituality is quite deep, my love of all the world's religions had led me to believe it would be difficult to find a single non-New-Age religious community for a home. I am the daughter of a Jewish mother and Christian father -- but mostly raised admidst Christian teachings. I was troubled at an early age by the exclusivity of the standard Christian message (be "saved" or go to hell). On the other hand, I was also troubled by the message of Jewish exclusivity (Jews being the "chosen people"). Enter 2002 and my encounter with Bet Alef--a community that teaches that Jews are "chosen" to follow the path of Torah -- not as people who are more important than other peoples. The Torah teaches Oneness -- an authentically JEWISH message that is ripe not only for Jews -- but non-Jews alike. The teachings at Bet Alef are vital, authentic, healing, and profound in this age of extremism, separation, and alienation. Is it any wonder, then, that so many people who have been raised as Christians are drawn so deeply to the teachings of Bet Alef?

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Feeling more connected to community and my birthright of being Jewish--and ~4000 years of amazing ancestors.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Find a way to enable more people to learn about this remarkable community so they can benefit also.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

It is a real spiritual and religious home for me--the perpetual misfit. I've learned so much about Judaism that speaks personally to me. It's a home that is open to many spiritual teachers, including Jesus, Buddha, Ramakrishna--even Mohammed.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Generous, authentic, reflective individuals who genuinely want to make a contribution to others in the world.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Do a lot to reach out into the community--near and far. It could expand programs for kids and adults, pay rabbis and staff appropriately, hire a music director, better support interfaith and service projects.

Ways to make it better...

I had learned about the community earlier than I did.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Financial. The people, the leadership, the energy are there....but the money is a definite challenge.

One thing I'd also say is that...

This community represents something important; relevant framing of a beautiful, authentic 4000-yr-old path that is not stuck in old paradigms of "us" versus "them" thinking.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-11-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

We started with Bet Alef for Bar Mitzvah prep for our sons after a horrible ezxperience elsewhere. olivier is simply a wonderful caring man who takes each kid for where they are, while also challenging them to reach out or their comfort zone.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Bar Mitzvah prep

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-1-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

Although having been raised Jewish, there was little observance in my home. I had not attended synagogue for many years except when I joined one so my son could be Bar Mitzvah. I was studying Buddhism when I met Rabbi Ted and was blown away by the idea of having an active spiritual life in a Jewish context -- something I had never encountered before. When I checked it out I discovered that the Rabbi taught the Torah as a living, relevant source of lessons for life. What a concept! I've been coming ever since.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

The warm community

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-11-01

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