About Temple Beth Zion
“What does a person expect to attain when entering a synagogue? In the pursuit of learning one goes to a library; for aesthetic enrichment one goes to the art museum; for pure music to the concert hall. What then is the purpose of going to the synagogue?”
— Abraham Joshua Heschel
People often ask us, “What kind of temple are you?” The answer they expect is one of the denominational labels — orthodox, conservative, reform, reconstruction, and/or renewal. Our answer often surprises: “We are just Jewish.” We sometimes call ourselves “unorthodox” — an independent Jewish congregation dedicated to spiritual awareness, Jewish continuity and questioning, social action, a relationship with the State of Israel, and community.
Why is our shul different than many other synagogues? We are a relaxed place. We laugh a lot, sometimes at ourselves. We instill a spirit of joy and inquiry into everything we do. We are a community of seekers, of people who do not comfortably fit into neat categories of Judaism, of people who have long experience with other spiritual paths and find, to their delight, that they can achieve fulfillment within their own Jewish tradition without denigrating or negating the experiences they bring with them. TBZ is a place to find yourself.
Rabbi Moshe Waldoks — Reb Moshe — defines “unorthodox Jews” as Jews who are not afraid of surprises. Along with the commitment to passing on traditional forms of Judaism, we constantly try to introduce innovative and creative means of expression.
TBZ is not a shul for everyone. We are not hierarchical. If you need the president sitting on the bima; if you need the trappings of solemnity; if you feel that Jews must dress divinely to explore the Divine, TBZ may not be the place for you. We do not confuse solemnity and seriousness. Because we are a young congregation, we are not rigid. We are not locked into ritual behaviors, and we do not lock people out.
Our members bring themselves, fully, into our community, and they tend to take TBZ with them into the world.