- We value the diverse nature of our congregation from different heritages and those that are committed to supporting the Jewish community. Rabbi Valerie Cohen has been Beth Israel’s spiritual leader since 2003. Jackson’s Beth Israel Congregation has always been the only synagogue in Mississippi’s capital city. As a result, it has accommodated members from different religious backgrounds and practices. For most of its history, the congregation has been rather small, though in recent decades it has emerged as the largest and most vibrant synagogue in the state.