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History

A serious commitment to expanding Jewish education in Northern Virginia led several families to organize a new center of Conservative Judaism in Reston, culminating in the official organization of Congregation Beth Emeth by fifteen founding families on June 14, 1979. 

Four years later, CBE merged with B’nai Shalom, a Conservative congregation in Sterling, Virginia, affiliated with the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, and purchased land to construct our current building. 

In less than ten years, we had met all three of our initial long-range goals: operating a religious school, hiring a full-time Rabbi, and dedicating our building in Herndon, VA.

In 1992, CBE celebrated its Bar Mitzvah with the purchase and dedication of a new sefer Torah and the establishing of a Scholar-in-Residence Fund to continue the Torah scholarship at CBE. Five short years later, we dedicated a Czech Holocaust Memorial Scroll, recently rededicated after 25 years of our synagogue, enjoying the educational and emotional opportunities it has brought us. In 1997, we completed an expansion of our building that tripled the size of the facility, adding much-needed classroom space. Throughout the past 40+ years, we have continued improving and updating our facilities. 

Our congregation has been led by talented Rabbis, starting with part-time Rabbi Kenneth Tarlow in 1979.  In 1988, Rabbi David Ebstein became our first full-time Rabbi.  When Rabbi David made Aliyah, Rabbi Steve Glazer joined us in 1995.  Rabbi Steve retired in 2013, and Rabbi Michelle (Mina) Goldsmith led our congregation until she and her family decided to move to Florida in 2021. Rabbi Bruce Aft served as our interim Rabbi for the next year while we did an extensive Rabbi search.  In July 2022, Rabbi Warner Ferratier joined our Congregation Beth Emeth family. 

Education has always been the keystone of our Congregation, where we provide educational opportunities for everyone through our BEECC preschool; our Religious School, starting with Kindergarten and going through Chai School; our Youth programs; various family learning programs; a wide variety of adult education classes; and numerous guest speakers at our Hazak programs and on other occasions.  

Over the years, we have expanded our services to include evening and morning Shabbat services, twice-weekly minyanim, and Yom Tov and High Holy Day services. Our Rabbi leads our egalitarian services and lay leaders. CBE members are encouraged to develop their skills through mentoring and classes. Our synagogue reads the Torah on a triennial cycle.

In addition to our congregation coming together for religious services and educational programs, we enjoy celebrating special occasions. Purim Carnivals, other holiday celebrations, and Religious School events fill our calendar. 

CBE has been characterized by warmth, independence, and camaraderie from its earliest days. We have addressed any controversy with sensitivity and reconciliation, seeking to meet the varied needs of our congregants. For over 40 years, we have strived to maintain the unique and inclusive sense of family CBE generates, providing a solid foundation for Conservative Judaism in Northern Virginia.

Mon, February 26 2024 17 Adar I 5784