Scotch Plains, NJ – Congregation Beth Israel in Scotch Plains announced that it has revised its membership categories to make joining the synagogue more affordable for young families whose children are entering its Religious School.

“We always offered reduced dues for young families, but we recognized that we needed to alter our definition of a ‘young family’ to keep up with changing times,” said David L. Feldman, President of Congregation Beth Israel. “Couples are waiting longer to marry and have children and, as a result, are joining synagogues and Religious Schools later as well.  Our Board of Trustees voted to amend its membership categories to reflect these changes.”

Congregation Beth Israel does not require synagogue membership for children to attend its Religious School for programs through second grade.  However, families with children below third grade now have the option of joining the synagogue at a reduced rate and enjoying full benefits of synagogue membership, including High Holiday tickets.

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“Religious School may be out for summer, but we are already busy preparing for its reopening in September.  The fall’s an exciting time because there’s so much to learn about the Jewish holidays that can be incorporated into our curriculum” said Elly Bauman, Education Director of Congregation Beth Israel.

Congregation Beth Israel’s Religious School was one of the first three congregations in North America to be designated as a Framework for Excellence School by the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.  The Religious School offers classes from pre-school through 11th grade, as well as special needs instruction.  Its curriculum includes the teaching of Hebrew language, Torah study, Holidays and Mitzvot (doing good deeds).  The Religious School also offers student-led prayer services, grade-specific family education programs, and on-line learning opportunities. 

Classes for pre-schoolers through second grade are held on Sundays.  Religious School for grades 3-7 meets on Sundays and Wednesdays.  The Machon Institute, a high school program for grades 8 - 11, convenes Wednesday evenings.

Congregation Beth Israel is an egalitarian Conservative synagogue, serving the religious, cultural, educational and social needs of congregants from Scotch Plains, Fanwood, Westfield and surrounding towns. It has an active Sisterhood, Men’s Club and youth group, plus a wide array of programs, ranging from adult education courses to social action opportunities. 

“We are excited to welcome young families as new members and to include them in all aspects of synagogue life,” said Lisa Strug, Member Relations Chair of Congregation Beth Israel.  "We realize that young families juggle lots of expenses, including childcare and/or pre-school, but we don’t want these financial obligations preventing them from joining our synagogue. We hope our new membership option allows young families to become full members of our close-knit community.”

For more information on membership or Religious School, contact the synagogue office at (908) 889-1830. Congregation Beth Israel is located at 18 Shalom Way, Scotch Plains, NJ  (corner of Martine Avenue).