Green links on this site take you to our dictionary, created for those seeking a deeper understanding of words and phrases used in a synagogue or Jewish context.
A Word About The Words
The Hebrew terms on this site represent core principles (Middot) of Jewish belief.
To us, they are words to live by. For a translation and examples of how we live our faith, mouse-over the words on each page.
Sustaining Jewish identity, religious practices, and community in our increasingly homogeneous culture and busy lives is a constant challenge. Today we have to schedule time for what, 100 years ago, was the natural way of relating among community members whose daily social lives and spiritual practice were easily woven together. The strength of modern Judaism is dependent on our ability to build community and relevant connections between Jewish faith and modern life. Through programming that speaks to our constituents, and by emphasizing the ethical foundation of the Mitzvot and the practical applications of our traditional beliefs, Beth Zion-Beth Israel (BZBI) helps our congregants make meaningful connections among members and not just have faith, but live it every day.
Established in 1946, just after the Holocaust and prior to the founding of the State of Israel, BZBI has served the community around Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Square for more than 60 years. Formed by the union of three congregations, BZBI has been at home in our striking neo-Gothic synagogue on 18th Street since 1954. Today, under the leadership of Rabbi Ira F. Stone and Cantor Sharon Grainer, BZBI practices Conservative Judaism with an egalitarian worship service, bringing to life Torah, t'fillah (prayer), and gimilut hasadim (acts of loving kindness) in our vibrant urban community.
"We have been members of BZBI for almost 30 years. BZBI and its welcoming congregation has been our center of celebration, of education and of solace in times of joy and in times of darkness. The coterie of other families we met at BZBI in our first first few years there are still our best friends and now we are seeing our children marry and welcome their children at the synagogue. BZBI has been one of the foci of our lives and we are glad that we have been there for the congregation and the congregation has been there for us." - Gary and Marianne Emmett