Temple Beth Hillel


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Archived Q&A and Reviews

Website for Temple Beth Hillel: http://www.templebethhillelrichmond.org/
August 2008

Re: Looking for a reform temple
Temple Beth Hillel in Richmond is a wonderful, smallish reform temple. We are located off of the Hilltop exit. There are about 100 families at TBH, all ages, many are interfaith. We have a great religious school for the kids. Temple Beth Hillel is a warm and friendly congregation. We have a part time rabbi, Dean Kertesz. Friday night Shabbat services are twice a month with one pot luck dinner before service once a month. There are adult ed classes for anyone who wants, lay led Torah Study every Saturday morning, celebration of all the holidays, a great cantor and a choir that is always open for new singers. We're big into music. My husband is the temple President,Dana Meyer. You can call him at 510, 812-1599 or check out the website, www.templebethhillelrichmond.org Good luck, and welcome to the bay area. June

May 2008

Re: Sunday School for ''Cultural'' Jews?
I too am a ''cultural Jew'' and would actually rather my child learn ''Yiddish'' than ''Hebrew''. Before having a child, I tried different synagogues. Then we joined Temple Beth Hillel in Richmond (I too live in Berkeley) TBH is only a 10 minute drive. Their school is on Sunday's starting with a beautiful (singing mostly) service for the family and then the kids are off to their classes. They do talk about god, but as the teacher and the rabaii (both who are great) have said, god is whatever you make it to be, within you, in nature etc. They do teach Hebrew for the mitzvah services but I would think they would be open to a discussion with you regarding your wishes. We love the Temple. Not too big, where you feel lost and not too small where, everyone knows if you don't show up! We really like the community alot. Very down to earth, all welcoming and my daughter loves the school. If you'd like to know more, call me at 526-3266 or email me. Good luck. Betty

May 2006

Re: Synogogue friendly to interfaith families
I recommend Temple Beth Hillel (TBH) in Richmond (near Hilltop). My situation was very close to yours. My husband is Catholic. We celebrate Christmas just for fun part (Santa, tree, festive spirit of gift giving). We checked out TBH a couple of years ago. We went a few times to see if we liked it. The plus for us was that it is a reform congregation which I thought would be better for my husband since there is more English and he could understand more of the prayers, etc. The temple members are very welcoming. They have services about twice a month (less pressure about trying to make it to services every week). Once a month, a Potluck Shabbat precedes the services. Many families with kids attend that one. There are several interfaith families. There's a religious school. There are lots of kids' activities. Our favorite is the Purim Carnival. I suggest checking it out. Here's the website: http://www.templebethhillelrichmond.org/. marcia

April 2006

Re: Joining a synagogue on low-budget
We belong to Temple Beth Hillel, a Reform congregation in Richmond, just off I-80. We have found it to be a wonderful, warm and intimate community--and much more affordable than many other jewish. It also has been very welcoming to us: my wife is Methodist and our daughter is adopted. That has made no difference, except that my wife cannot do an aliyah. Otherwise, she is a full and participating member of the community. While I grew up in a Reform congregation, we also did not celebrate Shabbat at home, so I also feel like I am doing more than when I had grown up. It's taken a little getting used to, but it feels very comfortable now and we cherish this community. Joel

April 2005

Re: Trying to get more connected to my Jewish roots - Sinai or Kehilla?

Have you been to Temple Beth Hillel in Richmond? We are neither large, nor political nor class concerned. We are about 100 families of all ages, interracial, interfaith, G/L. TBH is a very warm and friendly congregation. We have family shabbat services with pot luck dinners, a great religious school, adult ed, and much more. My husband is the ''new member'' chairperson. Please e-mail him if you'd like more information. His name is Dana Meyer,dmeyer2[AT]earthlink.net June

When I was in your position I ,too, came to the same conclusions. My husband is not Jewish, but was supportive of my feelings that the kids should learn about their Jewish heritage.I had visited every Reform/etc. synagogue at High Holiday services to see if I felt comfortable.I was not sure what I would do, when I heard of a synagogue that seems to be a little out of the way, but actually isn't.

Temple Beth Hillel is in 'Richmond', but not actually so. It is really just at the Hilltop Mall exit at Route 80. From my Albany home I can be there in 10 minutes. The congregation is small, flexible, open and welcoming. At least half of the congregation with kids lives in El Cerrito/Berkeley/Albany.It is reform, with much singing and a standing invitation to join in with 'la la la' if you don't know the words.

When other synagogues were restricting High Holiday services to ticketholders only, I needed no ticket for TBH. And while I had attended many different services all around Berkeley/Oakland ,feeling rather anonymous, at TBH the Cantor and several of the congregants welcomed me personally. I have found a warm and supportive small community there, and my husband feels comfortable enough to join in when he can.

My older child is now studying for his Bar Mitzvah, and I am glad not to be part of a community that expects a wedding-like affair, but one that will be about the child who has done all the work,instead.

The building was recently upgraded and the mortgage is PAID (no building fund needed). It is hiding up there in Richmond, but please consider it and check it out before deciding. for directions see: http://www.templebethhillelrichmond.org/visit/index.html or email me if you have questions. h.c

April 2005

Re: Jewish temple for agnostic non-Jew and family

To the 2 posters looking into Jewish synagogues - I'd love to invite both of you to Temple Beth HIllel in Richmond. We are a small, warm reform synagogue. Our membership is as diverse as the bay area. Some of us political, some not, some of us more religious, some less, we are of different backgrounds, some interfaith families, some traditional families - but what we do have in common is a love for the community we have at Temple Beth Hillel. One poster mentioned concern about income, what you wear and how much you make are not what we are concerned about (as long as you wear something!). Please check out our website - www.templebethhillelrichmond.org, look up our calendar and please come to a service.

March 2005

Re: Seeking a diverse, open minded reform synagogue

I am the non-Jewish partner in an interfaith couple. We joined Temple Beth Hillel in Richmond almost a year ago and have been very happy there. It is an extremely warm and friendly Reform congregation of about 100 families. It's small enough to be very homey, but big enough to have an active religious school and tot Shabbat services. On our first visit to Shabbat services, we stood around talking to people we'd never met before for nearly an hour. As a non-Jew, I have felt very welcome there. The fact that I came in not knowing the songs or prayers didn't bother anyone but me. The congregation has quite a few interfaith families and several intercultural families. I have no doubt that you and your family would feel very welcome there too. The calendar of services is at http://www.templebethhillelrichmond.org. If you are interested in attending services and want to have someone to sit with the first time you go, please feel free to e-mail me. Good luck finding a place that fits your family. Pam

Temple Beth Hillel in Richmond (off of the HIlltop exit) is a smallish (100 families) reform synagogue. We have MANY interfaith families, some interracial, G/L. We are a very welcoming and warm community. Our rabbi is a young woman with a friendly warmth and spirituality about her. We have a fabulous cantor, a small choir, musical leaders and a great religious school. My husband is the new member chair person and he can answer all your questions by e-mail or phone. His name is Dana Meyer. We've been members there for about 7 years now and love our ''extended family'' community there. I think you will find many people there with your very background and experience.

Another wonderful Jewish community is Kehila. They are also reform but much larger than TBH. Very diverse community.I have many friends who belong to and are leaders in the Kehilah community. Good luck in finding what you want June

I would like to invite you to my synogogue - Temple Beth Hillel in Richmond. We are a small reform temple with families coming from many broad and diverse backgrounds, including several families with almost your exact situation. We have a lovely religious school, wonderful and warm services, many wonderful activities. I encourage anyone interested to check out our website (http://www.templebethhillelrichmond.org) and come and check us out in person. anon