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History of Congregation Beth Elohim

In 1963, The Jewish Community Group of Acton consisted of 15 families led by lay people, meeting in the homes of its members. By 1967 the Acton group was sharing space with Congregation Rodoff Shalom in its Maynard Synagogue.

Congregation Beth Elohim was incorporated in 1969 and seven years later purchased land in Acton for its own building. Membership grew substantially through the 70's and, after much debate and planning, a building was constructed on that land. On May 4, 1980 Congregation Beth Elohim's 86 member families, along with community friends and officials, dedicated and consecrated our synagogue.

Once the building was a reality, the Congregation drew still more newcomers and, in just seven years, it was once again necessary to build to meet our growing needs.  Plans for the expanded building more than doubled the existing space, providing a larger sanctuary, a social hall, new classrooms, a caterer friendly kitchen and a lounge for our youth.

Dedication ceremonies were held in the new sanctuary May 1, 1988. This time nearly 200 member families and community friends were in attendance.  In less than 2 decades, the local Jewish community and Congregation Beth Elohim had come a long way.

With the procurement of adjacent land in 1997, a long range plan was established that recognized the congregation's continued growth and need for additional space to accommodate our ambitious programming plans.  In 1999 a building committee was established where all aspects of our synagogue's facility needs were scrutinized.

At our annual meeting in May of 2000, the congregation voted to go forward with the building expansion. Designs called for a expansion that would triple the size of the building to 22,000 feet with significant on-site parking.

In 2001 we had our groundbreaking for what would be a challenging 14 month construction period.  All programming including Congregation Beth Elohim's religious services and school programs were held off-site.  We are especially grateful to the kindness and generosity of St. Matthew's Church, the Acton-Boxborough Regional High School and many others within the community for providing us with required facilities during this transition period.

Our beautiful new synagogue was completed just in time to accommodate the high holiday services in the fall of 2002.  Today, the CBE congregation is around 300 families/members with an ever expanding range of religious, educational and social activities for children, teens, adults and seniors.

In addition, CBE has recently transitioned from hosting a JCC-staffed pre-school, to hosting our own CBE Early Learning Center, a Jewish oriented early education and care program for families within the surrounding communities.

We are proud of our past and look forward to Congregation Beth Elohim's continued future growth.  We welcome you to join our congregation and share with us in all we have to offer.

Past CBE Rabbis

Rabbi Lewis Mintz served as the spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Elohim for its first 40 years. In that time, he developed, nurtured, and sustained a vibrant Jewish community which grew from a small congregation of 85 families sharing a space in Maynard to a substantial community at our current building in Acton, enlarged twice to accommodate over 300 congregants/families. 

Throughout the years, Rabbi Mintz’s caring, teachings and humor strengthened our love of Judaism and brought us closer together, embracing the variety of Jewish practices among the members of our community. Through so many life cycle events, his presence and guidance has warmed, comforted and inspired hundreds of families and individual congregants. Furthermore, he broadened our horizons with his scholarly insights on the bima, in the classroom, and beyond,  with travel close to home and to Israel.  

Rabbi Mintz is well respected, not only as a compassionate spiritual leader, but also as an extremely knowledgeable and talented teacher, and as an advocate and resource to the broader Acton/Boxborough and surrounding communities on matters of Jewish interest.

Rabbi Mintz became Rabbi Emeritus on July 1, 2017.


 

Rabbi Michael Rothbaum served as our  Rabbi from summer 2017 to spring 2022. During Rabbi Mike’s tenure, he helped guide the congregation through the difficulties of the pandemic.  He provided pastoral support through challenging times, and found  new ways to sustain the community throughout, via Zoom and in hybrid services. 

Rabbi Mike brought a consciousness of Jewish values into the many aspects of our communal life, and  was instrumental in formalizing our community’s central Jewish values and ritual policies. His teachings and writings inspired many here at CBE and beyond to connect with and embrace Jewish life.  He was an active participant in CBE’s social justice group, Na'aseh (meaning “we will act”), bringing his energy, perspective, and leadership  to pressing issues of the day. His passion for social justice work inspired many members to become more actively engaged in tikkun olam, repairing the world. 

Rabbi Mike also inspired  children and teens,  keeping them engaged in Judaism and in the CBE community, giving them the opportunity to ask challenging questions and finding creative solutions as they became Bar and Bat Mitzvah during the pandemic.

Tue, February 7 2023 16 Shevat 5783