Congregation Beth El–Keser Israel

85 Harrison Street, New Haven, CT 06515-1724 | P: 203.389.2108 |

Our banner is based on BEKI’s stained glass, designed in 2008 by Cynthia Beth Rubin. For information on this and other of Cynthia’s work, go to: <a href="" target="_blank"></a>. Artisan Fabrication by JC Glass of Branford, CT

Introducing New Members

We welcome …

Here is a little about some of BEKI’s new members …

Ilana Barzel
I had a limited amount of Jewish education growing up, because I attended a Solomon Schechter Day School through second grade and then my parents transferred me into public school because of my developmental disabilities. But I had a loving support system through them, my older sister, and the shul community. I grew up Modern Orthodox, so over time I have learned to “code switch” between being both frum and secular. I live in New Haven now and hope to become a member of one of the teams for Kiddush. If I could find a fellow member who shared a particular hobby or interest, maybe someone who’s artistic; I love seeing plays and I’ve been playing cello since 4th grade.

Jonathan Cohen & Shayna Schor and Caleb

Listed from tallest to shortest, we are Jon, Shayna, and Caleb. Even though he is very short, Caleb (age 14 months) is the important one to remember. We live in East Rock. Shayna and Jon grew up Conservadox and modern Orthodox, respectively, and both went to Jewish day school. We’re very excited that BEKI is the first shul we’ve joined as a family. Caleb had his first Jewish experience as an eight-day old and was not really a fan, but I think it’s growing on him. Favorite parts of being Jewish are the opportunities for connection and shared ritual with our friends and family. Also bagels. We hope to be able to sit in the main service as a family sometime in the next decade! Jon would look for someone who enjoyed board games. Caleb would look for another baby whose socks he can try to steal. Both have already made a lot of great progress.

Coretta & Naftali Caplan and baby Jonah Caplan
We live in Westville. Baby Jonah is going to have many different types of Jewish (and some not Jewish) influence from his extended family. We are so excited for him to also have the influence of BEKI, which seems to be deeply respectful of Torah and tradition as well as humanism and egalitarianism. Thank you for your work for our community!

Toni Davis & Leslie Brisman

Splitting our time between Westville and Madison, CT, we were looking for a vibrant area Conservative synagogue with an emphasis on learning and community, an interactive D’var Torah, and possibly a liberal service. We are delighted to be new members at BEKI. We so much admire Rabbi Woodward’s commitment to teaching and look forward to future new and exciting sessions on a variety of topics. His wisdom and warmth certainly help light the way to BEKI. At the same time, we also admire and love the fact that a sizeable number of congregants can daven and read Torah! The unrestrained excitement of little ones further adds to the pleasure in feeling that Am Yisrael Chai!

Tom Goldenberg & Jessica Holzer and Ainsley

Tom is a New Haven Mayoral candidate and was previously a public sector consultant. Jess is the chair-elect of the University of New Haven’s public health department. Ainsley is in kindergarten in New Haven Public Schools, and we live in the East Rock neighborhood. Favorite parts of being Jewish for Tom are the food and social gatherings. Ainsley says she likes eating matzah. Jess’ favorite part is the community. Ainsley says she is also a fan of BEKI children’s programs. Tom says he is always looking for fellow fans to see jazz music with. Jess is interested in meeting fellow gardeners.

Trezlen Drake
I’m excited to be a part of BEKI and meet you all, so be sure to introduce yourself to me at kiddush. My favorite part of being Jewish is the fact that our religious life and the observance of holidays are as communal as they are individual. For example, I like sharing Shabbos with others, but I also like that it is something that I can do, get to do, alone. I live in Westville and am interested in developing a creative or crafty habit. I pretend to knit, crochet, and play guitar, but it’s really easy not to practice when it is just me. I also like going to movies, watching scifi tv, and reading books.

Alisa & Glenn Levine

We moved to Connecticut from the Boston area in September of 2021 to be closer to our children (Rozzie & Ben in New Haven and Avi & Arielle in Fairfield) and our grandchildren (Charlie, Shayna & Zoe). Shortly thereafter we were “recruited” by the Rodwin family, Charlie & Shayna and their parents, to join their shul—BEKI. We’ve always been a synagogue-centric family and miss the community we left behind in Needham, MA. It is so gratifying for us to see the next generation understand the importance of synagogue life for themselves and for their children. It’s been challenging to fully engage during these tougher COVID times, but we do hope, little by little, to build strong connections of our own within our new BEKI community.

Coleman and Tema Leviter

We moved to the New Haven area to live closer to our children, in Woodbridge and also Portland, ME. We were in East Northport, Long Island where we lived for 40 years as active members of the Commack Jewish Center, which later merged with Dix Hills Jewish Center. Coleman works full time as an IT professional, and Tema owned a specialty food store in the Five Towns area of Long Island for forty years. She works remotely part time now as a financial professional for a small company, and has already joined the BEKI Kiddush committee. Tema is an avid reader, and Coleman enjoys golf and emptying the house of unwanted items on Ebay, which he has been doing since 1998. Our children remarked at their bnai mitzvah that “Dad would sell us on Ebay if it weren’t for Mom!”

Allison Jacobs & Joshua Kuhr and Noa and Oren

We live in Westville. When we came to BEKI, we were excited to see the large number of children and families that were local to the Westville community. Having a place for the kids and us to learn and socialize is important.






Jacob Robins

The shared joy of davening and learning together is my favorite part of being Jewish. I live in East Rock and would be happy to share interests like keeping up with various sports teams (MLB, college basketball, Premier league) or D&D with other BEKI people.




Mike and Lisa Woodward

After spending their entire lives in Los Angeles, Lisa and Mike finally left those sunny, earthquake-prone environs and moved to follow their kids to the east coast in 2019. Lisa had worked as a Literacy Specialist at a Jewish Day School in Los Angeles for many years, and as the Educational Director for OROT, a program for Jewish children with learning differences, in Philadelphia for 2 years. Mike is a California Land Use Attorney who works on various planning, zoning, and entitlement issues for clients in Southern California. Lisa and Mike moved to Woodbridge in mid-2022 and are enjoying “country” living and taking their granddaughters back and forth to school, shul, and home, and entertaining their grandsons from Washington, DC (think choo-choo trains, Legos, and forts). Mike and Lisa are excited to be a part of the BEKI Community!

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