Beth Shalom is a Jewish community formed by people of diverse backgrounds. We are united in a common desire to be inspired by the richness of our tradition through active participation in all aspects of Jewish life. As individuals and families, we strive to take part in meaningful religious practice, develop a love for life-long learning, engage with Jewish ethical ideals and moral values, reaffirm the bonds that unite Jews around the world, and build a communal home for all our members.
As a Congregation, we understand that the active participation and commitment of all our members is fundamental to the growth and prosperity of a strong Jewish community. We reach out to welcome and embrace those who want to be part of the Jewish people, those who are accompanying and supporting their Jewish family members, and all those who are not yet integrated into Jewish community life.
Beth Shalom has flourished since its humble beginnings in October of 1983. At that time, it was determined that there was enough interest to form a Cary-based group to celebrate Jewish life. A small group of Cary residents held a series of informational and organizational meetings. Our first ritual events were monthly Havdalah services in Umstead Park. As our group grew, we realized that not only did we have approximately a dozen Sunday school age children, but we also had two adults who were willing and capable of teaching these children Hebrew, Bible, History, Midrash and holidays.
In our infancy, being part of the Cary Jewish Community Center (our first name choice) was a nomadic experience. Fortunately, the Cary community was supportive of our group without a building. Over the next years, we accepted the hospitality of a number of churches in order to hold services. Our Sunday school was also quite mobile.
The lack of a building did not hinder us from celebrating Jewish holidays. We shared dairy potluck meals in a backyard sukkah, enjoyed congregational Seders, prepared latkes for Hanukkah, planted trees in a number of Cary’s parks for Tu B’shevat, read the Megillah and produced a play for Purim, and picnicked for Lag B’Omer. In 1988, we took a giant step forward when were able to obtain a portable Ark (still in use today at High Holy Holiday services), and we arranged to borrow a Torah from Temple Israel in Charlotte. Shortly thereafter, we joined the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (now URJ). Then, we contracted with our first student Rabbi.
Gratefully, our nomadic days became history. We only need to look at our Rabbi, our building (occupied since 2000), the professional staff, membership growth and a calendar full of events to appreciate the gains we have made over the past decades. This was best reflected with the completion of our new sanctuary in May 2014.
We encourage you to not only learn about our history but to become part of our future by joining Beth Shalom.
At Beth Shalom our mission is to become–for the people of southern and western Wake County-a community where the richness and fullness of Jewish life can be experienced, explored, and enjoyed. Allowing for difference of opinions and interests and respecting personal choices, as is the Reform Jewish tradition, we dedicate ourselves to these essential purposes:
- To take part in inspiring religious practice, cherishing our heritage and customs even as we recreate and renew our tradition for ourselves and for our children
- To continually educate ourselves, developing knowledge and appreciation for our culture, making Talmud Torah –questioning, studying and learning—an engaging and defining endeavor for all, young and old
- To constantly probe and apply our moral and ethical values, making our best contribution to Tikkun Olam –repairing the world—through acts of kindness and social justice, loving our neighbor, and caring for God’s creation
- To connect with and support Jews around the world, reaffirming the bonds that unite Jews to one to another, and recognizing our historic and special bond to the State of Israel
- To create a home for all our members, sharing in the building and sustaining of an environment where personal bonds and connections grow, leading to a real and warm sense of community which provides support in good times and bad times
Aware of the unique and changing conditions of our community in this part of North Carolina, we actively reach out to welcome and embrace those who want to be part of the Jewish people, those who are accompanying and supporting their Jewish family members, and all those Jews who are not yet integrated into the Jewish community life.