Interest Groups

We have created some small groups to bring people together based on shared interests; we also continually seek to identify additional groups to bring members together to engage with experts in a safe, non-threatening community.

Please complete our questionnaire  to help us connect you with other like-minded community members.

Some examples of interest groups include:

Beth El has adult, teen, and children’s choirs.

Beth El Empty Nesters are people in their late 40s to early 60s who have in common that they no longer have (or never had) children at home, and wish to connect with others in our community at the same stage of life.

Our activities are planned in part by an informal steering committee, but also by individuals who have the interest and willingness to organize an event.

We hope you will contact Geryl Baer so we can add your names to our Google mailing list.

Congregation Beth El is committed to strengthening our community through education and relationship building.  Throughout the year, we offer breakfast study sessions with our clergy based on your profession.  These breakfasts are an opportunity to network with fellow Beth El members who are your professional peers as well as learn Torah through topics that relate to your professional field.  Currently, there are professional groups for:

  • Lawyers
  • Mental Health Professionals
  • Female Healthcare Professionals
  • STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Professionals
  • Real Estate Professionals
  • Government Relations/Lobbyists
  • Freelance, Consultants or Self-Employed Professionals
  • Economists and Financial Professionals

To learn more or create a group for your profession, contact Geryl Baer at gbaer@bethelmc.org or 301-652-8569, ext 152.

The greatest card game ever! Every Monday from 1:00-4:00 pm in the Family/Bride’s Room. No partner or RSVP is needed. Sponsored by Beth El’s Senior Caucus. For more information, contact Ricardo Munster at 301-652-8569, ext. 116.

This friendly, informal drop-in group, led by congregant Art Salwin, meets twice monthly at Beth El. It is a way for participants to practice and keep fresh their Hebrew conversation skills. You don’t need to be fluent in Hebrew to join. No RSVP required. If you are interested in learning more or want to know the date of the next meeting, please contact the Beth El main office.

Family Camp is a group of about 25 Beth El families who head out to Camp Horizons in Harrisonburg, Va., to learn, play, celebrate, and relax together in a sociable, low-key environment.

There is plenty of time for activities like horseback riding and a ropes course in addition to our traditional schedule of services, study, sports, kids’ activities, and, of course, meals. Family Camp families also get together several times during the year for holiday parties and other activities.

Family Camp is organized, managed, and funded entirely by the participants who volunteer their time and energy each May and throughout the year.

New families with kids of all ages are welcome as space permits. If you are interested in joining us, please contact the Beth El office at info@bethelmc.org.

Family Camp History

Beth El Family Camp began in 1994 when an intrepid group of 15 Beth El families, most with small children, spent Memorial Day Weekend together at Camp Moshava.

In addition to running after the kids and cooking our own meals, we participated in Shabbat services and informal study groups, played family sports, and told ghost stories around a campfire following Havdalah.

Since that year we have held Family Camp every year, adding new families and new traditions, and strengthening our ties to Beth El and to Judaism. As our children have grown, so has our membership, and we have families with children of all ages as well as some whose children have grown.

After the first year at Camp Moshava the group has been to several other camps including Camps Benjamin and Reich at Capital Camps (before it was rebuilt) in Waynesboro, Pa.; Camp Louise in nearby Thurmont, Md.; and the Pearlstone Retreat Center outside of Baltimore.

In addition to services, study groups, family sports, and a Havdalah campfire, many different activities have taken place over the years including talent shows, improvisational skits, quiz shows, karaoke nights, arts and crafts, community service projects, wine – cheese – chocolate tastings, etc. We also have our own version of the world famous Maccabiah games. The games are fun for all ages and the rules are usually broken.

Havurah is derived from the Hebrew word for friend – havurot is the plural of havurah – and havurot provide a way to become a part of a more intimate shul experience.

These groups are formed around common interests (such as opera) or stages in life, meeting outside the synagogue to engage in Jewish learning, socialize, and develop a deeper feeling of friendship and community within the larger Beth El congregation.

If you’re interested in starting a havurah, please contact Geryl Baer at gbaer@bethelmc.org or 301-652-8569 x 152.

Start Your Own Group

Books, cards, choirs, camping, gardening…if a group doesn’t already exist to match your interest, think about starting one!

If you would like help starting a group, contact Geryl Baer at gbaer@bethelmc.org or 301-652-8569, ext. 152.