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November 9, 2009

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November 9, 2009

My father eschewed all religion, harboring horrible memories of Hebrew school and a bar mitzvah he didn’t believe in. I knew nothing of my Jewish heritage growing up, apart from my mother’s kugel (which she hardly ever made), Sunday breakfasts of lox and bagels, my parents’ Yiddish colloquialisms and their tales of the Holocaust. All my life I yearned for more connection to Judaism. Without a people, without a history, when my own children were born I was left to ponder how to link them with their Jewish roots. My husband (a non-Jew) and I tried several synagogues but with little experience to go on, we felt frozen out. Bet Alef had the answer: a program that welcomes all who seek deeper meaning and connection to the faith. Bet Alef’s blend of music, meditation, chanting, and prayer with spiritual interpretations of the Torah and Jewish ritual has brought meaning and value to traditions that were foreign to us. Bet Alef’s invitation to Jewish spirituality gave me a handhold, enabling me to explore my relationship with Judaism in a non prescriptive manner and giving our children a chance that I never had to grow up connected to 4,000 years of Jewish history.

The Great!

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

celebrating Jewish holidays and shabbat services, as well as connecting with a community of like-minded Jews.

More feedback...

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

the opportunity for spiritual growth, learning about Jewish rituals, and making a contribution to the the community.

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

highly dedicated and committed to Bet Alef.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

November 9, 2009

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November 9, 2009

Bet Alef is the only place that I've been that has made Judaism relevant and meaningful. Rather than race through a standard liturgy so we can say we've done it, each prayer's kavanah is established before it is entered. There is a period of silent meditation that is honestly meditated. And the music is filled with joy and beauty.

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The Great!

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

attending services, with hardly missing any, for the last ten years.

Ways to make it better...

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

increase the programming for families.

More feedback...

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

it has made Jewish practice relevant and meaningful in my daily life.

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

stupendous people!

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

turn on many more people to Jewish life and practice who otherwise thought it was a dead letter and irrelevant to modern life.

Ways to make it better...

Stephen Merritt would sing and perform there more often; I miss the days when he was the music director.

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

financial. This is not a community of big machers with deep pockets. Unlike some other long-time established congregations, Bet Alef does not have an endowment and has not benefited from planned giving.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

November 9, 2009

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November 9, 2009

An incredible community - Rabbi Olivier is a gift. I found my home here. The Shabbat services are a deeply moving, spiritual experience. Torah Study is fascinating. We have fun together and care about one another.

The Great!

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

all aspects of my life

Ways to make it better...

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

More feedback...

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

The people are accepting and encouraging of one another

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

Bring love and light to more than 10 million people!

Ways to make it better...

There were weekly Shabbat services

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

Financial stability - like most non-profits

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

I love Bet Alef

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008

November 8, 2009

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November 8, 2009

I have been looking for a synagogue for years that would provide Jewish spiritual grounding with a warm and inclusive congregation. I felt this the moment I walked in the doors of Bet Alef. I was raised Conservative then reformed Jew in the midwest. I have been to so many synagogues in the Seattle area and have never found one that was welcoming. It was hard to be involved if you did not have children. Bet Alef offers something for everyone.

More feedback...

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

Finding a community that was so inclusive and connected both in and outside the synagogue.

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

Dedicated, warm, friendly, make you feel included.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

November 8, 2009

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November 8, 2009

My son is in the Bet Alef B'nai Mitzvah program. I am amazed at what a profound impact it has had on his understanding of himself and his interest in his spiritual life and role in the Jewish community and world community. My daughter is fascinated by what she has learned through him, and can't wait to start the program herself next year!

The Great!

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

seeing my son, who is participating in the education program, become involved in humanitarian and environmental causes. He is educating himself online and through magazines and newspapers, and emailing friends with info.

More feedback...

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

how inclusive and warm everyone is, and how they are willing to think deeply.

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

staff and members of the congregation, fellow parents of students, visiting representatives of other faiths at multifaith events.

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

reach out to more students and hold more multifaith events to further understanding. Offer travel opportunities to reach out to other communities.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

November 7, 2009

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November 7, 2009

I was introduced to Bet Alef several years ago by a friend. I've attended Shabbat a number of times and through this became involved in a reading study group led by Rabbi Olivier. In all my experience with various religious or spiritual communities, Bet Alef has been by far the most evolved and inclusive.

More feedback...

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

The degree to which I feel welcome in this community.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

November 7, 2009

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November 7, 2009

Five Stars Plus! OK, let's make it 6 stars, like the Star of David! Give it a Try, if you haven't yet. Bet Alef,Rabbi Ted,Rabbi Olivier, the Musicians, the Fabric Art and all who I have met & continue to meet are HOLY,HOLY,HOLY. Also unique, intelligent, fun, interesting, spiritual, ethereal & solid. Bet Alef is a core of the heart and spirit. A truly welcoming and All Inclusive place. I first met Rabbi Ted during pre-Bet Alef existence and have been an active member and participant since. Traditional & Untraditional Reform, Silent & Jewish Mantra Meditation, Learning & Teaching and Friends. For approx 16 years of Bet Alef, I have touched and held the Torah,been Queen Esther in the Purim Shpiel,celebrated many BA weddings, chanted/sang in Tiferet, been nurtured and supported thru my parents "passing", completed a year of wonderful learning and my Bat Mitzvah (along w. five other adults), and have now started a Rosh Chodesh group. Rabbi Olivier brings a new youthful refreshing inviting dynamic as well.

The Great!

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

spiritual and personally supportive ways

More feedback...

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

the inclusivity of Judaism with Meditation and Welcoming of All People.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

November 7, 2009

more

November 7, 2009

I have not been practicing Judaism for 50 years, after trying many different synagogues. After moving to Seattle, I met Rabbi Ted Falcon through his guest speaking at Center for Spiritual LIving. Came to Shabbat and my first full attendance at High Holidays since I was compelled to go as a child. This immediately became my spiritual home: the peace and joy of the whole Shabbat experience draws me to attending every Shabbat. It is a loving, caring, accepting, and inviting community, now led by Rabbi Olivier Benhaim. He has been a congregant, student, and follower of Ted's for 12 years, continues and expands his teachings and has developed a Family Program in the past two years. My closest associates and best friends are all part of this community, and it has provided exactly the place to fill a hole that has existed in my heart for 50 years. I bless Bet Alef every week for its ability to make me a more complete human being than I am without it.

The Great!

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

bringing prayer, meditation, a full Shabbat experience, and spirituality back into my life.

Ways to make it better...

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

have an active and vibrant Volunteer Committee.

More feedback...

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

The warmth and embrace of the community, the teachings of our rabbis, and the sense of peace at every Shabbat.

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

Exceptional human beings who willingly share themselves, their time, and their energies for the sake of the greater good of Bet Alef.

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

First, have it's own home, where announcements, activities, and functions can be publicized permanently. We become a stronger presence to the larger community than with a leased space. Contribute to other non-profits that desperately need funds.

Ways to make it better...

we had more volunteers willingly participating in all levels of the community.

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

Financial

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

It an honor and privilege to be a leader of this community, create a lasting relationship with two rabbis, and develop closer and more meaningful friendships at Bet Alef than I ever had before.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

November 6, 2009

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November 6, 2009

Its the finest Jewish Spiritual experience ever. Rabbi Falcom and the new Rabbi are both exceptional. They come from the Heart and explain the essence of the many Truths in terms everyone can understand.

The Great!

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

High Holidays were very moving, and available to all

Ways to make it better...

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

More feedback...

Ways to make it better...

They had their own place of worship

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

November 6, 2009

more

November 6, 2009

I had not been to Synagouge in 20 years. When my children started to grow up we attended High Holidays at a Local Synegouge. Then my neighbor told me aobut Bet Alef. They hosted an informal children's Shabbat service at our community pool and the kids were charmed by the then Rabbincal Intern Olivier. When I bagan attending services I expereienced an immedaite and unconditional affinity with Rabbi Ted Falcon and the BEt Alef community. My son who has dificult with school has just finished tow years of B'nai Mitzvah and became a Bar Mitvah in September. The expericiene has changed him, made him abetter person and a jew. My daugther started the two year program last month. This is now our spiritual home and the springboard of my children's religious life.

The Great!

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

I have come home to temple in a way that never expected. The fulness of my experiece is difficult to describe. Synagouge is now the support for my core values.

More feedback...

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

I am uplifted, edcuated, grounded, centered and inspired when ever I attend or volunteer at temple or for Bet Alef projects

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

without exception positive in attitude and happy to be part of the community by volunteeering

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

Change the world

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

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