September 16. Yizkor Service: “Hello Beth El Family, Each year, on the Sunday between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, we have a brief and spiritual memorial service, at the cemetery. Its looking like the weather is not on our side, this year. But please know that REGARDLESS OF THE WEATHER, THE YISKOR SERVICE WILL BE HELD. If, when you arrive for the 1pm service, it is raining or looks threatening, please come to the temple first. We may choose to hold the service in the sanctuary or social hall. That decision will be made last minute. But Rabbinic Intern Dyme WILL conduct the YIskor service.”
September 18. Kol Neidre @ 8pm
September 19. Yom Kippur 10am - 1pm. Resume 3pm. Break the Fast in social hall.


Our History

Beth El Congregation began in 1859 when four Jewish families settled in Rockingham County.

Eight years later, regularly scheduled religious services began in a rented room. Our first Torah (which is still in use!) was purchased in 1870. Land for the Jewish cemetery was acquired in 1876, and the following year Hebrew Friendship Congregation was chartered. On July 4, 1891, the cornerstone was laid for the first synagogue in the area.

The synagogue in downtown Harrisonburg was our home for more than 70 years, until 1964, when the cornerstone was laid for our present Temple.  The name of the Congregation was changed from Hebrew Friendship to Beth El, House of God.

Our Mission

The purpose of this reform congregation shall be to worship God in accordance with the faith of Judaism; to cultivate a love and understanding of the Jewish heritage; to strengthen the ties within the Jewish community; to strengthen the bonds of loyalty with the Jewish people everywhere; to bring nearer the Dominion of God on earth through an emphasis on the principles of righteousness and harmony in society at large, and to engage in social action projects in pursuit of social justice and Tikkun Olam (repair of both the human and nonhuman components of the world).



in the news

The 613 by Archie Rand
JMU Duke Hall Gallery of Fine Art welcomes Brooklyn, NY painter and muralist Archie Rand (b. 1949) for the exhibition, The 613 by Archie Rand, which will be on view from 11 September – 13 October 2018. The 613 is a serial painting composed of 614 individual, sequential images (613 key panel paintings plus one introductory painting) inspired by the 613 Jewish commandments (mitzvot in Hebrew) extracted from the Old Testament. Taking five years to complete, The 613 is Rand’s largest non-mural work ever — and is arguably the world’s largest freestanding painting on canvas. Rand will give a public lecture on Tuesday, 11 September, from 5-6pm in Duke Hall room 2036. The gallery will host Rand for an Artist Reception on Wednesday, 12 September, 2018 from 5-7pm. 

Men’s club leaders hard at work preparing dinner for the Lions club.

Year of Health
The Beth El Sisterhood has installed an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) in the Social Hall. There is a sign near the bathroom indicating where the AED is located. It is our fervent prayer this device will never need to be used, but feel confident, that if it is needed and used, it is safe and YOU just might save a life.

Supporting our Congregation
Please remember to support Beth El with your purchases at Food Lion, Martins, and online at Amazon. More details here.

The URJ has awarded Beth El Congregation "Exemplar Congregation" status for a disability-friendly building and processes (dietary considerations at onegs, disability outreach, and the like). The Board put considerable thought and effort into the application after we had been recommended for the award by Rabbi Lynne Landsburg.

Social Action:
1. Consider a donation to the Suitcase Clinic. The Sisterhood will be collecting items for patients and their families for this vital  organization. Winter hats & gloves for children and adults, diapers, and feminine products are in particularly short supply. There is a bin in the temple foyer. You may also make a monetary donation thru Beth El.

Recent Events

Discussing Hanukkah
Beth El member Frances Flannery, PhD on TV explaining the celebration of the holiday.