Temple Beth El of South Orange County
Temple Beth El of South Orange County is a synagogue community that is home to Reform and Conservative traditions and worship styles. It is a welcoming Jewish home where individuals and families come together to celebrate, explore, and engage in diverse Jewish practices through mitzvot: prayer, learning and acts of loving kindness. The congregation started in 1981 when a handful of families saw the need for a vibrant reform synagogue that could meet their needs close to home. Originally called Temple Beth El of Laguna Niguel, the new congregation held its worship services, Sunday school and Hebrew classes at a local church. In 1992, modular units accommodating services, religious school classes and administrative offices were all in one location and were installed on a 3.4-acre plot of land in Aliso Viejo. In 2001 the congregation moved into a 65,000-square-foot facility with 20 classrooms, a sanctuary that can seat 1,200 people, a chapel that seats 200, both a children’s and an adult library, a museum space, a small wi-fi equipped café, a large youth lounge, an outdoor basketball court, very comfortable clergy offices, and a modern catering kitchen. Rabbi K’vod Wieder is the congregation’s spiritual leader, and Rabbi Jason Rosner will join him beginning in July 2023. Amy Packer is president. There are 450 families. For more information, please visit www.tbesoc.org or call (949) 362-3999.
What are the most popular of your synagogue’s programs or services?
First Friday Shabbat Festival
Soul Spark Shabbat Service
Small Group Initiative
Early Childhood Center
Teen Madrichim Program
What programs or services do you think capture the synagogue’s underlying philosophy?
Our Small Group Initiative demonstrates our focus on building meaningful relationships with each other. Our Soul Spark Shabbat service expresses our commitment to joyful, spiritual, and transformative worship experiences.
What are some of the unique aspects of the congregation?
We are dually affiliated with the Reform and Conservative movements. We are the largest of the few synagogues in South Orange County. We are opening an Infant Toddler Center this fall.
What would you say to encourage someone to join your congregation?
At Temple Beth El of South Orange County you can be supported in discovering and living your own unique Jewish expression through multiple onramps of engagement. Our clergy and community meets you where you are.
Ilene Schneider has been chronicling Jewish life in Orange County for five publications since 1978. She has served as a communications consultant for a number of Jewish organizations. She is a contributing writer to Jlife Magazine.