About Congregation Beth Elohim, Acton, MA

We are an Independent, progressive synagogue with the following strengths:

Sense of Community: We are welcoming, supportive, and energetic. Our Chesed Committee does incredible work to support our members in times of need, while online & hybrid services, programs, and events, and weekly newsletters keep us connected, even during a global pandemic.

Religious Diversity: As an unaffiliated congregation, we are committed to respecting different levels of observance, traditions and religious identity. We have highly participatory Shabbat services in a variety of styles, weekday afternoon minyan, and multiple Torah study groups.

Love of Learning: We have a joyful and vibrant Religious School and Early Learning Center preschool, and many teen volunteers who continue to participate after Confirmation. Our Adult Education Committee, Brotherhood, and Sisterhood constantly offer exciting and stimulating programs.

Jewish Values in Action: We are a progressive and inclusive community. Our Na’aseh Initiative embodies the values of tikkun olam and tzedek, taking action to support basic human rights, civil rights, social justice, and environmental protection. We have the largest array of solar panels of any faith community in Massachusetts, providing clean energy to our facilities and lower income families in the surrounding community. For more information about our core values click here https://www.bethelohim.org/mission-and-vision.

Creativity & Talent: We have a wonderful choir and outstanding annual Purim Shpiel, and our talented members enhance many events and programs.

We are proud that our community is diverse in many ways. We are welcoming to all, regardless of age, race, gender, economic or family status, ethnic background, mental or physical ability, or sexual orientation.

We are an inclusive and affirming community whose LGBTQ+ membership has grown over the past several years, and we have support for LGBTQ+ adults and children as well as ongoing programming on LGBTQ+ topics.

A substantial portion of our congregation consists of interfaith families, who are welcome in all aspects of synagogue social and religious life. We recognize patrilineal descent, and our Ritual policy allows non-Jewish partners and parents to participate in a meaningful way in all life-cycle events.

We have members who have been at CBE for over 40 years and others who have just recently joined. We take pride in our multi-generational nature.

Religious Services
We are an egalitarian Jewish community that is diverse in many aspects of synagogue life. Our congregants come from a variety of Jewish backgrounds, and our services reflect that diversity in drawing from Conservative and Reform ritual practice. We welcome people of varying backgrounds including interfaith and LGBTQ+ families and members. All our services are a hybrid of in-person and Zoom participation, in the spirit of remaining as inclusive as possible.

We offer weekly Friday night and Saturday morning Shabbat services, as well as an afternoon minyan three days a week. Our Friday night services rotate through a variety of styles each month, including a Tot Shabbat & Family Ruach Service, a Musical Service with instruments, a “Power Hour” early Erev Shabbat service, and a more traditional Kabbalat Shabbat service.

Saturday morning Shabbat services are egalitarian/Conservative, accompanied by an hour of Torah study. When there are b'nai mitzvah, Shabbat morning service is more consistent with Reform practice.

CBE has a volunteer choir that participates in High Holiday services, occasional Friday night services, b’nai mitzvah services and is the centerpiece of one musical Shabbat service each year.

We use a variety of prayer books for different services, as reflects the diverse religious background of our community. For Friday evenings we use Chaveirim Kol Yisraeil and Siddur Hadash, on Saturday mornings we use Lev Shalem and Siddur Hadash, for High Holidays we use a modified version of B’Sefer Chayim, and our chumash is Etz Hayim.

Our Leaders
All synagogue staff positions report to the CBE Board of Directors. Our staff includes our CBE Rabbi, Mike Rothbaum; Cantor, Sarra Spierer; Synagogue Administrator, Shoshana Zuckerman; Education Director, Beth Goldstein; and Samantha Valente-Philips, our ELC pre-school Director.

Rabbi Michael Rothbaum became our spiritual leader in 2017. He is a graduate of the pluralistic Academy of Jewish Religion in New York (AJR-NY) where he received his Rabbinic S’michah (ordination) in 2006. He graduated from the New College of Florida in 1997 with a BA in Public Policy/Economics. He is committed to the Jewish imperative of r’difat tzedek – the command to pursue of justice – and before coming to CBE he had already worked in Jewish communities for over 20 years as youth director, rabbi/educator, and pulpit rabbi, as well as serving as Co-Chair of the Bay Area Regional Council of Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice. His writing has been included in the Forward, Tikkun, Sojourners, Alma, Ha'aretz, and the anthology, Peace, Justice, and Jews: Reclaiming Our Tradition. Since joining us, Rabbi Mike has been nominated to the board of the New England Jewish Labor Committee, and the rabbinic advisory committee of Boston-based JALSA (Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action).

Cantor Sarra Spierer joined Congregation Beth Elohim in 2007 as our first pastoral associate and cantor. She was awarded her Cantorial degree from Hebrew College in Newton, MA. Cantor Sarra earned a Masters’ degree in Jewish education and completed a training program in Clinical Pastoral Education at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Cantor Sarra is a member of the Cantors Assembly and the New England Board of Cantors. Here at Congregation Beth Elohim, Cantor Sarra serves as a pastoral and spiritual resource for our community. She enhances our prayer through music, enjoys creating opportunities for congregational participation on the bimah, supports the teachers and students of our Religious School in the learning of prayer melodies and Torah trope.

Education Director
In 2018 we welcomed Beth R. Goldstein, RJE, as CBE's Director of Education and Community Engagement. Beth has been a Jewish educator for over fifteen years, teaching students from kindergarten through high school and developing religious school curriculum and family education programs. She has also been a soloist at several synagogues. A graduate of Brandeis University, Beth holds a Master of Arts in Jewish Education from the Rhea Hirsch School of Education at Hebrew Union College Institute of Religion and a Master of Arts in Jewish Communal Service from the School of Jewish Communal Service at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Beth believes her role as a Jewish Educator is to help each person find his or her own Jewish path while connecting to others in the community.

Early Learning Center Director
Samantha “Sam” Valente-Phillips assumed the role of Director of the CBE Early Learning Center on March 14, 2022. She previously served as Assistant to the Director and a teacher in our Parparim (preschool) Class. Sam attended Brandeis University where she worked at the Lemberg Children’s Center. She has worked for a non-profit organization that trained and provided services to families interested in fostering and/or adopting children who were currently in the care of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families. After a few years of active participation as a parent of the JCC Early Learning Center in Acton, Sam was offered a teaching position with the JCC and remained on the job as it transitioned to the CBE ELC. In her time at CBE, she has earned her Infant/Toddler Lead Teacher, Preschool Lead Teacher, and Director 1 certifications. For more information about CBE’s Early Learning Center, click here http://cbeelc.org.

  • Interim Rabbi

    Congregation Beth Elohim, Acton, MA
    • Interim
    • 1 month ago