Beth-El Keser Israel: A Busy Fall for Kids & Teens

by Annie Norman-Schiff

Kids, teens, and their families are looking forward to a busy fall at BEKI. This season brings a mix of old and new, as the community returns to favorite traditions that weren't possible last year, while finding new ways to connect, serve the world, and have fun.

After a year of adapting to services outdoors, BEKI has restored its three separate children's services every Shabbat morning. 

By 10:45 am, Children's Havura (birth through age 5) is singing songs; K-2 Kehillah (kindergarten through second grade) is learning new melodies for prayers; and Junior Congregation (third through sixth grade) is acting out a play about the Torah portion. Parent volunteers lead each service, but new rabbi Eric Woodward is a familiar face, dropping by each service with a smile and a word of Torah.

BEKI children will have many outdoor gatherings this fall, including the return of a beloved tradition, the Sukkah Hop, a kid-friendly jaunt from sukkah to sukkah across the Westville neighborhood on the first day of Sukkot. BEKI will also partner with PJ Library for a visit to Silverman's Farm in Easton, with apple picking, shofar blowing, and a taste of local honey. 

The BEKI Kadima youth group, fourth through eighth graders, will go hiking, pick apples, and host their second annual Reverse Tashlich event. Unlike a regular Tashlich service, during which bread crumbs are thrown into a river, at Kadima's Reverse Tashlich, everyone takes things out, working to heal the local environment by cleaning litter from the West River.

The teens in BEKI USY will be led by their newly elected board:
President Helen Gerber
Executive Vice President Aviva Wyner
Religion and Education Vice President Miles Katz
Social Action and Tikkun Olam Vice President Daniel Manning
Israel Affairs Vice President Miranda Hurwitz
Membership and Kadima Vice President  Hannah Herbst
Communications Vice President Sarah Rastelli

This fall will mark a return to favorite BEKI USY traditions, like the annual Thanksgiving Pie Fundraiser for hunger-related causes. Last year, unable to gather in the BEKI kitchen, the teens got creative and sold Pie Baking Kits, with canned Kosher pie filling and a recipe booklet. This year they are excited to get back in the kitchen, preparing frozen, bake-at-home Kosher Pareve pies to sell to the community. 

For more information about programs for children, teens, and families at BEKI, contact Youth and Family Programming Director Annie Norman-Schiff at


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