I've had Ted Falcon as my rabbi for over 30 years, both in LA and in Seattle and now, since I live in Oregon, in my heart, with occasional visits in person. There has never been a better teacher in my life, a better influence or someone who has lighted my path to help me make better choices than he has. I've been a volunteer, a member of the choir, a "cheerleader" and a participant. Now, that Ted is an "Interfaith Amigo" and Rabbi Olivier has taken over the congregation of Bet Alef, I only know that it will continue with great energy and teachings for present and future congregants alike. It is a true story of community and excellent experience.
I was born in 1951. I came from a culturally Jewish background; the religious aspects of Judaism to which I had been exposed seemed form-bound, anachronistic, and lacking vitality. Since 1999 I have been oriented to the spiritual worldview of Integral philosophy, which is comprehensive, universal and demands coherence on many levels. I have found in Bet Alef a creative dedication to joyfuly including and expressing Judaism's tribal + scholarly + cultural + activist roots, and pushing into universal and mystical territory. What a find!! Bet Alef is an incredibly attractive and unusual package for Jews, and anyone, who needs a postmodern and mystical spiritual home with lots of rich tradition underneath. The people are great, too.
We moved to the area and we were searching for a community that fit with our sense of Judaism and community. We soon got connected with Bet Alef and began participating in the family Shabbat programs. We immediately felt welcome. Rabbi Olivier is warm and patient with the children (and adults!). The all let us participate and we became part of the community we were looking for.
This place is great! There is a very strong sense of community, which is enhanced by the meals after services. Oliver is a great Rabbi. He gives really interesting, funny talks and really makes Judaism enjoyable. I am one of the sutdents in his Bar/Bat Mitzvah class, and I'm glad that I am. The class lasts two years. During the first year, we learn how to read and chant Hebrew and learn about Jewish traditions and values. During the second year, we memorize all of the prayers for the ceremony and learn about Jewish history. It's really fun. Meditation goes very well with the services, it helps people get relaxed and in the right state of mind. It doesn't always work for everybody (after one service where we were instructed to imagine ourselves as waves crashing on the shore, I heard someone remark "I was imagining my head smashing agaisnt the rocks."), but it works for me. The synagogue is also kid-friendly, holding "Inter-generational family Shabbats" which are specifically geared towards kids. They are much shorter than normal services and involve more audience participation. All in all, involvement in Bet Alef is a very fun and spiritual experience, and I definately recommend it.
Our lives are so enriched because we are members of Bet Alef. We discovered Bet Alef in 2003 after moving to Seattle from Los Angeles and here we found a spiritual community unlike any other. Our Friday night services are moving, magical and inspiring and Saturday morning Torah class, which begins with an hour of silent meditation, not only teaches us about ourselves and our world, but has helped us deepen friendships and widen our community. Rabbi Ted, our founding rabbi, has brought new meaning for us as we practice Judaism. And Rabbi Olivier's love for learning and sharing - not only Judaism but all he is interested in - has given us new insights and helped us evolve as more complete human beings. You won't find a friendlier community of like-minded souls anywhere else on the planet!
I left my previous synagogue when I remarried. I had rarely attended. Rabbi Ted Falcon performed our ceremony in 2000 and we joined shortly thereafter. Six years ago, Rabbi blessed my Bar Mitzvah at age 56. My wife is Vietnamese and comes from a Buddhist tradition but loves our congregation and we never miss a Shabbat when we are in town. She has been warmly welcomed and we are truly part of a loving community. Starting as a cultural Jew with little training, I have found that the Jewish spiritual path, as iterated by Rabbi Ted and his home grown successor, Rabbi Olivier, resonates with me and has imbued my life with deeper meaning and intention, something I never thought would happen given my scientific, reductionist mindset. Finding Bet Alef has been one of the great blessings of my adult life.
I immigrated to US about 10 years ago. I grew up in Catholic Poland. As typical Pole I was raised Catholic, but as an adult I considered myself an atheist. In my late 30’s, when I was already living in the US, my mother gave me big news. She received a letter from Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, stating that she was born Jewish and that she was adopted as a child by a Polish family during World War II. That night I took a very close look at the shape of my nose in the mirror, but the news did not strike me. What difference does it make? Polish, American, or Jewish…I was still my usual me and my life was already difficult enough. One evening, a few years after my mother told me that I was Jewish, by pure chance; I was invited to visit Bet Alef Meditative Synagogue. The experience I had that evening at Bet Alef moved me deeply and initiated a significant change in me. Rabbis Ted’s and Olivier’s teachings incorporated into Judaism everything I was always looking for in religion: interfaith and its philosophy of tolerance to all human beings, soothing and healing meditation, counseling, intellectual stimulation, humor, rousing music, family life, and many opportunities for social interactions. Unexpectedly, I found warm, stimulating community, welcoming to all people and families including single parents with small children. I discovered that Bet Alef families gather each month in different homes to enjoy spending time together and to celebrate Jewish holidays. At Bet Alef I discovered my spirituality and I found my spiritual home. This synagogue will always have a very special place in my heart. I will always stay loyal to Bet Alef and I recommend this place to anyone that struggles with identity issues or is searching for spiritual awakening.
I truly couldn't be experiencing my Jewish lineage in any other space.... it blends my metaphysical upbringing with Eastern philosophy and Jewish mysticism. The congregation is an amazing group of people... the discourses presented by Rabbi Ted and Rabbi Olivier challenge the minds and spark the spirits of each in attendance. I am also thrilled to have a space for my young son to connect with his Jewish lineage in a way that is open and free
I have struggled with many things in my life. Judaism being one...addiction being another. When I woke up to the fact that the cure for my addiction was a spiritual life I became a seeker. I had turned my back on my Jewish roots many years before and felt there was nothing for me there. Through a series of events (serendipity) I found my way to Bet Alef. The meditation has been very healing and the Judaism sang to my soul.
The name represents what is unique about this synagogue. The rabbis (founding rabbi Ted and current rabbi Olivier) speak and work out of a place of true meditativeness; they do not simply speak about meditation or speak about Judaism. They rather have the ability to evoke the feeling of meditation within a Jewish context, providing an experience for the congregation. The excellent music program supports and enhances this process. I find that each service is like a journey through inner spaces; more involving and meaningful to me than what I experienced in other Jewish settings.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 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!
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Bet Alef Rocks! I have been a member for over twelve years. I have served on the Board and on various committees. And get this, we go to services - not just High Holy Day Services - but regularly to Friday night services. Wew go together as a family and everyone has a good time. Yes, even my teens. My third child will be Bat Mitzvah-ed there this summer. All three of my children have enjoyed and learned tremendously through the B'nai Mitzvah program. What makes Bet Alef so special? Is it the people? YES. Is it the music? YES. Is it the spiritual leadership? YES. But what else? Bet Alef is a place where the words of the Torah come alive. The prayers are not just a rush of Hebrew, but rather an opportunity to connect more deeply to the spiritual roots of ourselves and our people. Going to services reaffirms my connection to my community and my planet, it reaffirms my dedication to being part of the healing for our planet, and it reaffirms my belief in the possibility of peace, not only in my heart, but for all peoples every where.
I have been an active member of the Bet Alef Community and it has been part of my extended family for 12 plus years. I love being part of a community that provides a place for supporting the greater Community as well as Spirituality and a place to seek my own identity. For the last 2 years I have been an active Board member helping to guide and build our community during these turbulent times. We are all inclusive - many of our members were not born into Jewish tradition - but have found a "home" from teachings of our Rabbis. It is a healing place for ourselves, our community and our world. Bet Alef is the BEST! Come visit - and you will probably want to stay like I did.
Bet Alef has been my surrogate family in a state where I have no blood relatives since I moved here 14 years ago. For four years before I relocated to Seattle, I would drive up from Tacoma for the twice a month services and other holidays and celebrations. Earlier in my life I had pushed away organizational Judaism, because I felt excluded - as a female, as a non-Hebrew reader/speaker, and because the message of "us vs. them" didn't fit me anymore. For me, Bet Alef has always been about healing - within myself, and with others both within and outside our immediate community. Our interfaith focus, while maintaining our own identity, is one manifestation of that healing. The laughter and occasional tears that are a natural part of every service and gathering is another. I'm grateful for having had the opportunity to be part of the music program over the years; it's been a source of growth, joy, and healing for me personally.
Forget the glitzy Bar/Bat Mitvah. Bet Alef youth B'nai Mitzvah program provides youth with a deep, personally meaningful journey of self discovery and lessons of responsiblity and service to others. As a parent you will be awed and moved by this shared transformational experience. I sincerely recommend the Bet Alef youth program to parents and their teens.
I was introduced to Bet Alef by a friend and I began coming to services and quickly realized I had found my spiritual home. I love the rituals and teachings and the community is like family to me. This year when my mother-in-law passed away and the community had a beautiful service to honor her. It was an amazing expression of their love and concern for my family.
I have been looking for a synagogue for nine years. I chose Bet Alel because I needed something that would introduce my children to the faith with beaty and nurturance. The in home family Shabbats did that. I then found suppoort for my spiritual needs through the synagogues strong commitment to social works, inclusion and meditation. I have found a spiritual home in which I can safely grow and deepen my Jewdaism
I moved to the Seattle area about three years ago. I spent many months going to different Temples, trying to find the right "fit". When I went to other Temples here in the Seattle area I did not feel welcome, no one greeted me or said "Shabbat Shalom" after the service. Within 30 seconds of steping into Bet Alef people were smiling at me and welcoming me to the Temple. Five minutes after the service started I knew I had found MY Temple. When I found Bet Alef, I was still looking for work after moving; I was living with family and did not have a lot of money. Rosh Hashanah was coming up in a couple of weeks and I wanted to go to services, but was enbarased about my lack of funds. When I spoke with a Board Member she told me not to worry that what mattered was that I come to the services. I strongly recomend Bet Alef to everyone I meet that is searching for a Temple.
When I first came to Bet Alef several years ago, it was because I was new in town and looking for some kind of community and hopefully some friends. I had not been interested in religion for all of my adult life. And to be immediately encouraged to participate as a volunteer turned out to be the way that I met many good friends and later, my husband. He, like many people at Bet Alef, was not brought up in the Jewish faith but was drawn to the synagogue by its inclusiveness and teachings. That there could be a synagogue where laughter and joy were part of the services was a big surprise to me. That I could go on a Friday night and feel intellectually challenged as well as spiritually refreshed was a totally new experience. That the rabbi carefully explained the rituals and teachings, knowing that there were lots of other people like me who had little background in Judaism, helped me to learn. People are drawn to the synagogue for the meditative aspect, the music, the teachings,or the people they meet.Whatever the reason,Bet Alef is a place where many people feel at home.
After years in an orthodox shul I discovered real spirituality at Bet Alef. For the first time I wasn't participating out of a sense of responsibility & duty. I was there because I wanted to be there. And I was really there, in the moment. My mind wasn't 1000 miles away. The truly joyful shabbat services are unparalled in my experience.
Bet Alef is a warm and welcoming place. I love going to Friday night services where I feel spiritually renewed.
Bet Alef is a warm and welcoming spiritual home. I always feel comfortable in this congregation no matter how long I've been away.
Bet Alef is a warm, welcoming, supportive congregation focusing on personal meditative connection to the divine. It is profound, funny, supportive and nurturing.
Bet Alef is a very unique synagogue offering an alternative experience to both Jewish and non-Jewish people who are looking for a deeper worship experience. The teaching and practice enable one to connect to universal Truth that embraces and includes more traditional modes of worship but broaden and expand consciousness and bring one to new levels of experience. I highly recommend Bet Alef Meditative Synagogue.
Over the past 14 years the Bet Alef community has been an important part of my life. The community is the birthplace of many of my friendships. My husband and I were married by Rabbi Ted Falcon. Bet Alef provided the welcoming space in which I reclaimed my Jewish identity without rejecting the teachings of my Christian mother. I have learned confidence, Hebrew, and how to make Sephardic Passover food. I've marched with peacemakers, gone to Israel and learned how Buddhists,Jews, Muslims and Christians can dialogue together. I've sung many songs,celebrated the life cyclechanges of many, mourned the passing of community elders and seen the new ones grow.
Rabbi Ted is fantastic. He generally provides a weekly meditation and analysis of the pertinent week's torah portion, and everyone on the email list receives it in their email. I really appreciate these weekly messages. Bet Alef also sends a weekly newsletter with announcements and live links about interesting spiritual activities and other community events. I appreciate those as well. Bet Alef also gave my husband and I tickets to see the Dalai Lama when he was at Qwest Field as part of the Seeds of Compassion campaign. We will be forever grateful for those tickets!
Bet Alef has been a spiritual home for me for over 10 years. For me, as much as the perspective and teachings of Rabbi Ted, and now Rabbi Olivier, have resonated, comforted and empowered me over the years, I am also grateful for the community of people that I've come to know and love. My life is richer for being a member of Bet Alef.
I was invited to the "bring a friend" Shabbat at Bet Alef in September of 2008. From that first visit I felt welcome and still do to this day. I chose to join Bet Alef because of the strong sense of community and their teachings. The spiritual leaders and members have helped me awaken a part of myself that has been dormant for a very long time. I would not be where I am in my spiritual life today had it not been for Bet Alef.
There's no place quite like it within the Jewish spiritual spectrum. Accessible, vibrant, authentic and welcoming. Chanting and meditation will bring those who left traditional Judiasm to find more meaning in Eastern traditions back to the fold to discover something that feels familiar and yields an "embarrassment of riches." Mixed marriage couples and interfaith partners will find a universal spiritual experience within an authentic Jewish context. When the worship service is meditational and experiential, it can be life-changing. When it veers toward intellectual and typical teaching, it is, well, less boring than the usual Jewish service. Classes offer something for various seekers. New agers, mystics, holistic earth-mother types and such may find comfort, but know that the community keeps it's feet on the ground even when you hear "will the congregation please rise." You'll love it or simply not get it. It's not "alternative," for the sake of defining it as different. It's not "renewal" or "humanistic." It has it's own identity and if you come with an open mind and an open heart, you'll be welcomed with open arms.
My daughter and I have found a spiritual home at Bet Alef. I was raised as a reform jew and enjoyed the tribal feeling but could not full related to the dogma of reform judiasm, therefore was not a temple member. I would have called myself a Jew with an Eastern philosophy until I visited Bet Alef and learned through meditative judiasm that the concept of "all is One" is the primary precept of my own Jewish religion. What a blessing!
Bet Alef has been, and continues to be, an inclusive, compassionate, and vibrant home for a Jewish-based meditative approach to sprituality. It has made an impact locally and nationally that is hugely disproportionate to the size of the community. Rabbi Ted Falcon (who founded Bet Alef) and a member, David Blatner, co-authored "Judaism for Dummies". Rabbi Falcon is also the driving force behind "The Interfaith Amigos", has written other books, leads retreats and has a national presence. Melodies written in this community have been shared and recorded nationally in the Jewish community and Bet Alef was the first community nationally recognized as a Reform Meditative Synagogue.
I came to Bet Alef from a flyer that advertised a Synagogue for those who don't go to Synagogue. It turned out that it was the very first service in Seattle by Rabbi Ted Falcon. The initial visceral reaction during the service was, "I'm Home." Over the past 16 years, Bet Alef has become my spiritual home, and my community - consistently opening doors to the larger community and my own growth.
Bet Alef has helped me in to grow spiritually. I had been searching for my spiritual home for many years. After attending my first service at at Bet Alef,I knew I had found my home. The teachings of the Rabbi's have helped me to have better understanding of the Torah.
What a warm, welcoming, spiritually fullfilling place! Every service we have attended has been meaningful and the music is fantastic as well. We just started attending the family services, a great addition, and are looking forward to becoming more involved with our family!
Bet Alef changed my life. As an adult who identified as a Jew culturally but not religiously, I was seeking a spiritual home in almost everyplace but my own backyard. Now I'm proud to belong to a Jewish community that's all embracing and all inclusive: and proud to call myself both Jewish and religious. This courageous, gentle, loving, spirited and very, very alive synagogue practices what it preaches, nurturing "a spiritual deepening that can express through acts of greater compassion in the world."
For several years we searched for a synagogue and found a home for our spirituality. More than 13 years ago we felt the fit and to this day we are involved with the community that has supported us in very dificult times. We found our BetAlef Family right here while our "real" family is spread over the US. It's a comfort and a rewarding loving experience to participate.
I could not find a Rabbi who was willing to co-officiate an interfaith wedding. Rabbi Ted agreed and with a Unity reverend conducted a beautiful wedding ceremony for us. The teachings of Rabbi Ted and Rabbi Olivier have brought a sense of spirituality to jewish scripture that I have never experienced before. The whole organization is passionately inclusive and all are made to feel welcome.
When we moved to the Seattle area, we started looking for a congregation. We went to several that reminded me of the synagogue I grew up with....which did not excite me. When I attended Bet Alef for the first time, I knew I found my new schul. For the first time, I discovered Shabat and now look forward to finding that break in my week. My whole family fell in love with Bet Alef, the leadership and community. All of my kids have or are in the B'nai Mitzvah program (last child enrolled now)....and everyone who has attended their celebrations have said they are unlike any other. Our non-Jewish friends often comment how great they feel after joining these Bet Alef guided events, and maybe they should become Jewish. There is a sense of community that we Relish. Both my wife and I have served on the Board to help keep the community alive and vibrant. I have learned so much more about our tradition, history, and Torah since joining Bet Alef. I now join by invitation the Music team as a singer for certain services. My kids are well known and accepted by all the adults in the community. It is a very special place to has re-awakened my Jewishness and brought Shabat back into our household.h
Growing up in a conservative congregation and evolving into an interfaith family presented a challange of finding tradition along with acceptance. When I found Bet Alef, I knew I was home. Along with inclusivity and meditation and reflection on the awareness of our connectedness, the prayer opens and fills my heart. Led and taught, first by Rabbi Ted, and now by Rabbi Olivier, I sit in awe at each service and leave fulfilled. Also, I find the music both beautiful and inspiring. If anyone from my youth or even from up to a few years ago were to read this, they would not recognize me. Thank you to the community of Bet Alef for helping me to find my spirituality.
Like so many in the congregation, I was born Jewish, and though I loved the traditions of celebrating the holidays, and loved learning Hebrew, the "religious teachings" I grew up with never resonated with me. They were too exclusive and didn't create an inspiring future for me as a Jew in relation to the rest of humanity that I so longed for. It wasn't until I heard Rabbi Ted speak at a neighborhood church that I realized that the Judaism he taught sang to my heart and soul. I became proud of my history and "people" for the first time in my life. I so love the quest for being present to the oneness and interconnectedness that we are and the impact we have on ourselves and others out of who we are being. Rabbi Olivier has gracefully stepped up to carry on in Rabbi's Ted's foot steps. Our music program has always been exquisite. It currently is being led by Shira and Jordan Firestone and it's beautiful. The meditational aspect of our services are a perfect way to quiet my mind at the end of each week and access my calmer and more peaceful self. Our spiritual community is warm and inclusive.
Bet Alef provides a warm inclusive community with a philosophy of practice that allowed my family to re-engage their jewish heritage with our personal values intact. This is not once a year judaism; it's everyday. About reaching out and including anyone. It's not about what sets us apart or outside.
My family has been part of the Bet Alef community for 7 years, after having belonged to several other Jewish synagogues and communities in the Seattle area in the previous 16 years. We had hesitated to check out Bet Alef because services are held in Bellevue and we didn't think we wanted to drive that far on Shabbat - but by just a short time into our first visit, we knew we had found our spiritual home - and the drive became (most of the time!) another opportunity for contemplation and mindfulness. We also feel very lucky to have become part of the community in time for both of our sons to have become Bar Mitzvah under the tutelage of Rabbis Ted and Olivier.
I found this community in early 2001. What a find!!! Not only were the teachings amazing, the people were wonderful. I never thought I'd go to Friday night services on a regular basis. Thanks to Bet Alef, I love going!
Despite being Jewish by birth, I've never practiced traditional religion of any kind. By chance, I went to a service at Bet Alef in 2002 and the first teaching I listened to spoke to my heart. Think of a synagogue that is inclusive of all denominations. Imagine a synagogue emphasizing the mystical traditions of Kabbalah combined with the understanding of the tradition seen as a journey of consciousness. And recognize that the current Rabbi, Olivier Ben Haim is thru his wisdom, kindness, strength and modesty...not to speak of humour, the perfect vehicle thru which this spiritual and intellectual exploration is offered.
I've been involved with Bet Alef over the past 12 years. As a teenager, it gave me a platform for spiritual growth and Jewish identity. Now, as a mother of 3, the synagogue has been there for me for my wedding, the bris of my boys, and now as a community for my children to grow in. Thank you! Ruby