“We are Beth El. And so are you.” is a phrase that’s been put on full display at Beth El Hebrew Congregation’s property in Alexandria. Rabbi David Spinrad said the sign was raised in April, with the slogan intended to reflect the synagogue’s mission and values.
“What people care about is people,” Spinrad said. “Everybody should feel like they’re a part of our congregation, to truly be a house of God. So ‘We are Beth El. And so are you.’ is a statement that points to that. It points to a community that really strives to be inclusive of everybody.”
As it happens, the Washington area is home to a second Beth El: Congregation Beth El of Montgomery County, in Bethesda. Could the sign help in clarifying a distinction between the two synagogues?
“It wasn’t in my thinking,” Spinrad said. “I was really just establishing and articulating our own identity. That’s a great question though. But yeah, it wasn’t done with them in mind.”
Told of the sign across the Potomac, Rabbi Gregg Harris of Congregation Beth El of Montgomery County said it was “cute” and that he appreciates the sentiment behind it.
“And I would say so are we,” he said, laughing as a response to the slogan. “We are all community partners around the DMV.”