Beth El is a Reform Congregation serving the central Shenandoah Valley area with:
â€¢ Sabbath and holiday worship â€¢ Religious Education for children and adults; â€¢ Youth Group Activities; â€¢ Sisterhood and Men's Club programs; â€¢ Outreach to Jewish students attending area colleges and universities; and Community services.
Beth El often joins with our sister congregation in Staunton, Temple House of Israel, for celebration, worship, and educational activities. Beth El Congregation is a member of the Union for Reform Judaism and the Harrisonburg/Rockingham Association of Churches and Congregations. The Sisterhood is affiliated with the National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods and the Men's Club with the National Federation of Temple Brotherhoods. The Congregation maintains strong working relationships with the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai Brith.
In 1859 four Jewish families settled permanently in Rockingham County. Thus began the history of Beth El Congregation. Eight years later, regularly scheduled religious services began in a rented room. The first Torah, which is still in use, was purchased in 1870. The land for a Jewish cemetery was acquired in 1876, and the next year Hebrew Friendship Congregation was chartered. On July 4, 1891, the cornerstone was laid for the first synagogue in the area. The cornerstone for the present building was laid in 1964, and the name of the Congregation was changed from Hebrew Friendship to Beth El, House of G-d.