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 Deb Geiger 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
  • Freelance, Consultants or Self-Employed Professionals
  • Economists and Financial Professionals

To learn more or create a group for your profession, contact Deb Geiger at dgeiger@bethelmc.org or 301-652-8569, ext 146.

The Chug Kriah meets twice a month to read and discuss modern Israeli literature in Hebrew. New members welcome. For more information and to join us, please contact congregant Bill Kanter.

Join us for one of Beth El’s favorite ways to relax, recharge, and build community! Family Camp is held over Memorial Day weekend at a camp facility conveniently located within a 90-mile drive of Bethesda.

What to Expect:

  • All-inclusive Memorial Day weekend
  • Private cabin for your family
  • Shabbat in the woods
  • Kids and Adult Activities
  • Teenage counselors at designated times including adult-only social events
  • Volunteer with other families on programming (everyone is a part of making family camp happen!)
  • Year-round connections
  • Informal engagement with Beth El’s clergy – get to know your spiritual leaders in new ways
  • Campfires, singalongs, and z’mirot!
  • Build your Beth El community!

“Family Camp was our key to finding our Beth El community. Not only did we have a great time, we met so many wonderful members and made lots of new friends. Now whenever we go to Beth El, we always see people we know and our kids always see friends. This made a huge difference for us, and it’s all thanks to Family Camp!” -Family camp attendee

Interested in learning more? Please fill out this brief interest form and a volunteer will reach out soon.

What happens at Family Camp? Here’s a sample schedule from a previous year to give you an idea of what to expect.

CONGREGATION BETH EL FAMILY CAMP SAMPLE SCHEDULE

FRIDAY  

Time   Event   Who  
3:30 – 6:00p    Arrival & check-in – Welcome!

Tennis, basketball courts and other activities are open to explore. 

All  
6:00 – 7:15p    Pre-Shabbat gathering with introductions, followed by Candlelighting & Kabbalat Shabbat service
Note: Wear white shirts please!
All  
7:15 – 8:45p   Shabbat dinner, Zmirot, Birkat Hamazon All  

SATURDAY  

Time   Event   Who  
7:00 – 8:30a Early morning fitness led by participants (past activities have included morning yoga, bike rides and runs) Anyone interested
8:30 – 9:30a   Breakfast & announcements 

 

All  
8:45a Optional Birchot HaShacha/P’sukei D’zimra/Shacharit Anyone interested
9:30a – 11:45a Family Torah Service, & Musaf Services followed by discussion with Rabbi All
12:00 – 1:00p Lunch @ Dining Hall All
1:15 – 4:45p Family free time

(Parents responsible for children throughout the afternoon, counselors are not on duty)

– Lake Free Swim 1:15 – 3:15p

– Watercraft (kayak, paddleboard, canoe) @ Lake 3:30 – 4:45p

All
2:00 –  3:30p   Self-guided workout walk @ Outside pavilion side of Dining Hall

Pick-up family baseball @ Upper Field

Little kid playgrounds are open

Interested adults  

 

Anyone interested

3:30 – 4:45pm Easy Adventure Top Hike for all ages, meet @ Lakefront Pavilion All ages
3:30 – 5:00p   Team tennis @ Tennis courts Interested teens & adults  
4:45 – 5:30p   Younger kids’ activity (sign up) with counselors & camp staff @ Dining Hall Kids
5:30 – 6:45p   Younger kids’ sports & activity time with counselors @ Dining Hall

OR

All ages gaga games refereed by counselors @ Gaga pit

 

Kids
6:00 – 6:45p   Sip & Visit @ Lakefront Pavilion Adults
6:45 – 7:45p  

 

Dinner @ Dining Hall All  
7:45 – 9:30p   All camp activity followed by Havdalah @ Dining Hall All  
After kids put to bed Optional informal adult campfire @ Campfire Interested adults

SUNDAY 

Time   Event   Who  
8:00 – 9:00a   Breakfast & announcements @ Dining Hall All  
9:00 – 9:45a   Tzedakah activity, all kids with counselors @ Dining Hall

 

Kids (parents welcome)  
9:45a – 11:45a   Maccabiah Games All  
11:45a – 12:45p

 

Lunch @ Dining Hall All  
1:00 – 4:30p   Family free/activity time

Parents are responsible for their children; no counselors on duty until 4:30p  

– Free Swim @ Pool 1:00 – 3:30p  

– Fishing, Mini-Golf, Playgrounds, Tennis, Pickleball, Driving Range, Paddleboats, Canoes

 

Activities for older kids including: ropes course, archery, go-karts, climbing wall

 

Participant led activities such as mountain biking

All  
4:30 – 5:30p Younger activities with counselors @ Dining Hall & basketball court

 

Gaga games

Kids  

 

Anyone interested

6:00 – 7:30p   Dinner followed by Rock, Paper, Scissors Championship All  
7:30 – 9:00p   Campfire activities and s’mores All  
9:00 – 9:30p   

   

Put kids to bed @ Cabins

Optional babysitting to be provided by counselors & older middle schoolers (sign up ahead)

 

Kids
9:30 – 11:30p Wine, cheese & chocolate & general merriment  Adults  

MONDAY                                     

Time   Event   Who  
8:00 – 9:00a   Breakfast, announcements, & Memorial Day commemoration All  
9:00 – 12:00p   Older kids’ activity time (see activities requiring advance sign-up below, includes go-karts or laser tag)

 

Younger kids’ playtime with counselors @ Dining Hall & basketball court

 

Monday morning meditation with Hazzan

 

Interested older kids, see below

 

Interested younger kids, see below

 

Interested adults

9:00 – 11:30a   Older kids activities (such as canoeing or archery)

 

Younger kids activity (games and playground)

 

Ages 8 & up

 

Ages 4-9

12:00 – 1:00p    Lunch

 

All  
1:00p Departure All

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 Deb Geiger at dgeiger@bethelmc.org or 301-652-8569 x 146.

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 Deb Geiger at dgeiger@bethelmc.org or 301-652-8569, ext. 146.