Beiteinu: What Is It and What Does It Mean For You?

We are Beiteinu (Hebrew for Our House).  We were temple members, concerned that TBE was shrinking and wanting it to thrive. Sandy Masnick’s cousin belonged to Temple Beth Elohim in Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts. They had 400 families in 1999 and were shrinking. Today, it’s over 1,150 families and growing. Sandy’s cousin led a group dedicated to making the synagogue more vital to supporting their members’ Jewish identity and more responsive to their members.  There was no single magic thing that made their synagogue more successful. It was one hundred things. They did it by really listening to their members, and then suggesting ways to make their synagogue better.

We formed Beiteinu hoping to replicate that reversal of direction. We meet, we discuss, and when we have an idea we feel might improve something, we suggest it to temple governance, be it the temple board, the temple committees, arms, leadership, or staff. So what is Beiteinu?

What have we done so far? We felt the Friday night Order of Service was a stale and unfriendly format for too long. With extensive consultation with the Rabbi, we submitted a proposed update that was adopted. We felt there should be an explanation of the structure of the Shabbat services available in the pews. We created a sample, discussed it extensively with Rabbi, Cantor, temple Educator, and temple leadership, and then submitted a revised version to the Ritual Committee.  Those yellow laminated sheets are now available in the pews. We felt name tags at our services would facilitate more conversation among those who attend and we brought this idea to the membership committee who made it happen. We have more ideas brewing.

What does this mean for you? If you want to become a member of Beiteinu, please let us know. It won’t cost anything but the time to tell your thoughts. We don’t meet often, have excellent nosh available and our meetings last 90 minutes. No time, but still have thoughts on how to make TBE better?  Share them with us and become a Consulting Beiteinu member.  We know you have terrific ideas.  Temple Beth El is your Jewish home. Together we can make it even better.

If you want to join us, if you have an idea, if you just want to keep tabs on Beiteinu, please contact Sandy Masnick at sandymasnick@aol.com or (631) 271-3943.  We hope to meet you soon.