For about 2,000 years, the synagogue has been the center of Jewish life. It has been the place where our people gather for inspiration, learning and friendship. It has been a home for the Jewish people during times when they had no physical home.
From Israel to Europe, Africa to the Americas, the Caribbean to Oceania, our people wandered, trying to establish roots, carrying a Torah scroll and a prayer book with them. They would pause in their journey to assemble the 10 adults needed to form a minyan. Putting down their few physical belongings, they would gather to pray, study, or maybe just to schmooze and enjoy each other’s company. They did not have much. But they had their synagogue, their most treasured possession, and they kept it against all odds, making it flourish.
We as a people are “alive and kicking” thanks to the synagogue. The synagogue has survived because it has several meanings and functions. It is a Beit Tefilah, a House of Prayer, where we try to communicate with the Almighty in a participatory mood, open to all, in a creative and unpretentious atmosphere. It is a Beit Midrash, a House of Study, where we come to learn Torah, God’s word, as we try to improve our beings. It is a place where teaching is both formal and informal, where everybody strives to be a teacher and nobody ever ceases to be a student. It is a Beit Knesset, a House of Assembly, a heimish place where we reach out to one another, stressing our concern for Klal Yisrael with people, our people. It is a house that is inclusive, where there is a spirit of sharing and total openness, a place of warmth and caring, truly a “home away from home.”
B’nai Tikvah expresses those ideals of Judaism. It is the paradigm of that ideal synagogue, where prayer, Torah and Klal Yisrael are available to everyone. B’nai Tikvah is a place where everyone is welcome; for the old and for the young; for singles and for couples; for those who want to pray and those who want to study; where people can talk to God and where people can talk to each other; a place where we can happily celebrate the pride of our Jewish lives and also a soothing place when we are in need of comfort and support; where we can be inspired and moved to action as we strive to help the most in need; and a Jewish home in which we will keep aglow the eternal light that our people received at Sinai and that after 3,200 years remains with us.
I hope this website will serve as a key that will allow us to open the doors of this beautiful and warm home we know as B’nai Tikvah. May it be the key to an ongoing renewed and creative Jewish life.
On behalf of B’nai Tikvah’s board of directors and members, welcome to our Jewish community. Founded in 1976, our congregation has grown from an initial 27 families to more than 600 today. B’nai Tikvah offers a unique Judaic experience based on the principles of the Conservative movement.
We are proud of the fact that a very high proportion of our members are visibly and actively engaged participants in many areas of synagogue life. Our vibrant, participatory, egalitarian services are the heart of our congregation. Guests regularly comment on the warmth, friendliness, congregational singing and sense of community seen and felt at these services. We are blessed to have an outstanding ritual staff headed by Rabbi Alex Felch and Hazzan Hery Chulef. They are enthusiastic and approachable, and encourage the active participation of congregants in worship services.
My wife and I joined B’nai Tikvah in 1994 when we first moved to Deerfield, and over the years have watched our own children participate in Family Shabbat Services, lead the congregation during their Bar and Bat Mitzvot, and become active members of our youth groups. Our family has participated in many life cycle events, which are vital to the makeup of our congregation. Rarely will you attend a Shabbat morning service without several wonderful simchot taking place on our bimah.
I hope you’ll take some time to explore our website, where you’ll find information about our many social, educational, ritual, youth and cultural programs. I invite you to take a close look at who we are and all that we have to offer, and join us in our Jewish journey together. If you have any questions, please reach out to Felicia Lev, our Executive Director, or any of the ritual staff who look forward to meeting and speaking with you.