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About Beth El

Who we are

We take our name, Congregation Beth El, from Torah scenes in which our patriarch Jacob names the place at which he senses God’s presence. “Come, let us go up to Beth El,” he declares. About Beth El, Jacob rejoices, “What an awesome place this is.” We, too, believe our synagogue community is an awesome place to go up to, to elevate our sights, raise our spirits, and celebrate our lives through Jewish life, learning, and community.
We view Congregation Beth El as our spiritual home. As a synagogue family, we celebrate and learn, rejoice and gather for many occasions, care for one another, serve others and our community. We offer many opportunities to connect and engage. We celebrate in our House of Prayer,
Beit Tefillah.  We learn and explore in our House of Study, Beit Midrash. We gather for many occasions in our Beit Knesset, our synagogue home.Together, we seek to live meaningful Jewish lives.

Image by Ondrej Bocek

Who we are

Congregation Beth El is a Conservative synagogue whose mission is to create a home for every soul by offering a variety of Jewish experiences to nourish the mind, heart, and spirit, while being a caring Jewish community. Our Vision is to be known throughout San Diego as a synagogue that welcomes all Jews and fulfills their spiritual, emotional, intellectual, cultural, life-cycle, and social needs, maintains a focus on ensuring Jewish meaning for future generations, and emphasizes Tikkun Olam.

We are a synagogue that is welcoming and inclusive, whose operations are guided by responsibility, transparency, and trustworthiness, and whose interactions are characterized by respect, gratitude, joy, humility, optimism, and kindness.

Image by Ondrej Bocek

Our History

Congregation Beth El was established in Clairemont, San Diego in 1957, a time when most of the Jewish population resided in the eastern part of the city. The influx of engineers to work for Convair brought many Jewish families to Clairemont, a fact evidenced by a clever Mah Jongg advertisement by several Jewish women in 1956. The ad not only led to finding players but also uncovered a burgeoning Jewish community in the western part of the city.

The community's initial concern was for its children, prompting the creation of a religious school in a garage. Subsequently, about a dozen families initiated the founding of Congregation Beth El. With donations from prominent figures, they purchased a duplex on Bannock St., establishing Congregation Beth El with Rabbi Irving Ganz as its spiritual leader.... 

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