Since 1874, Temple Beth-El has had a long-standing history of fighting for social justice and equality throughout the state of Texas, and across the nation. As a founding member of the Union for American Hebrew Congregations, Temple has always placed a great deal of pride in social justice work and ethical practice. Whether it’s through direct service or advocacy work, Temple Beth-El continues to create progressive social change and positive impacts for congregants, neighbors, and community.
- 1897 to 1920: Rabbi Samuel Marks became an active participant in civic activities across the state.
- 1923 to 1942: Rabbi Ephraim Frisch was a prominent activist who supported the teaching of evolution in schools, opposed the state poll tax, and advocated for workers’ rights. Rabbi Frisch would also criticize police raids and the arresting of labor protestors.
- 1942 to 1976: Rabbi David Jacobson chaired a San Antonio commission examining the city’s economic and social issues. Rabbi Jacobson became a persistent advocate of racial desegregation throughout the city.
- 1976 to 2002: Rabbi Samuel M. Stahl was deeply committed to enhancing interfaith relations. He is the first Jewish leader to receive religious leadership awards from the Texas Conference of Churches and the San Antonio Community of Churches.
- 2002 to 2013: Rabbi Barry Block was known for his interfaith advocacy and promotion of immigration and LGBT+ rights.
Since 2014, Rabbi Mara Nathan has continued to maintain Temple Beth-El as a contemporary and welcoming place of worship. Together with Rabbi Marina Yergin and Cantor Julie Berlin, Temple Beth-El remains one of the very few Reform temples with all female clergy.
In 2018, Temple Beth-El created a new staff position, a Social Justice Fellow, who’s goal is to further develop unique direct service activities, ongoing volunteer opportunities, and advocacy efforts.
Have some time? Want to make a difference while being “hands on”? Temple Beth-El offers a wide selection of volunteer opportunities throughout the city.
Click here for a list of what service projects you can become involved in.
Temple Beth-El also hosts donation drives throughout the year. Be on the lookout in the Temple Bulletin for what we are collecting.
Click here if you're looking for more informaton on International Good Deeds Day this April.
Don’t see anything that interests you? Contact Ross Halfant and let’s make it happen!
Want to find a way to make systematic change? Temple Beth-El has always supported important social justice causes that align with Jewish values.
We are working on this process from a grassroots perspective. To see what we have been working on, please check out our H3 page!
Don’t see an issue being represented? Contact Ross Halfant and let’s talk!