One evening in October 1952, a group of Jewish families gathered together with a shared dream – to create and build a Reform Jewish community in San Mateo. They dreamed of a community to educate their children, inspire their lives, and bring people with shared values together. These visionaries created Peninsula Temple Beth El, which for six decades now has been our Jewish home and community – a community deeply committed to study, worship, social justice and to each other.
We are blessed that over the past five years our community has reached incredible heights -- in membership, educational programming, social connections and collaboration with our larger community. Our classrooms are filled with the voices of children and adults engaged in learning, our sanctuary with voices raised in song. Every day of the week our rooms are booked with lectures, meetings, social events and more. But with dramatic growth comes growing pains. While our spiritual home is stronger than ever, our physical home is sadly inadequate. We need your help to bring our synagogue facility into the 21st century, as we look to the next generations of community life. Just as our founders dared to dream 60 years ago, together we are now tasked with daring to dream for the next 60.
Membership Connections and Community
The spirit of our synagogue is one that puts our members and our community first - a place of comfort, safety, unconditional acceptance, support and compassion. From birth to death, our membership is bonded together to celebrate the joys and mourn the losses. However, there is simply not enough space in our current buildings for us to do what we are here to do.
We are deeply committed to educating and engaging the next generation of Jews and are proud of our outstanding staff and youth education programs that have reached record-breaking levels of participation. And as committed as we are to educating young people, we are similarly dedicated to lifelong learning opportunities for all our members. Demand is increasing for our programs every year but our physical structure is woefully inadequate even for what we currently offer. It is clear that a renovated building and additional space are necessary.
A temple's core purpose is to raise the spirit of each of its members from the mundane to the holy. This is becoming increasingly hard to do in our current building and sanctuary.
Our synagogue’s capital improvement project includes an expanded main sanctuary, small chapel, renovated Social Hall, additional classrooms and meeting spaces and an outdoor amphitheater that will enable us to learn, worship and celebrate in multiple places and in multiple ways.
Today, just as our founding members did several generations ago, we stand as a people of faith with the desire to transform and enrich our Jewish lives in San Mateo. We take seriously our sacred obligation to continue to be vibrant, expansive and meaningful.
Without your help we risk decline and the safeguard of our future. With your generosity, leadership and faith in our mission, we know PTBE can achieve our goals of sustaining the Jewish people, our congregation and community.
Based on input from our congregant parlor meetings as well as the physical needs of our outmoded building, the Campaign and Design Committees have been diligently preparing plans to present to you and your family. More details and information will be available in the coming months.
If you would like to be involved, please contact our Campaign Chair, Lorna Siepser.