When the founding members of South Metro Jewish Congregation launched its Religious School in 1992, it was in an unheated classroom at Cedaroak Primary School. On a gray, drizzly Sunday, a pint-sized number of children attended, hungry for knowledge about their heritage, anxious in their desire to find Jewish peers. This grassroots endeavor enabled residents of the South Metro area of Portland to find a Jewish community close to home. From what was first known as South Metro Jewish Community sprang a vibrant congregation, one that is now a highly respected member of the larger Jewish community, drawing members from throughout the greater Portland area.
An organization emerges through the efforts of many, taking small steps and big leaps. Some of the highlights of our history include:
1996 – SMJC adds a worship program in addition to religious school, and Ann Brown becomes Cantorial Soloist.
1997 – Rabbi Larry Halpern joins SMJC as its first Rabbi.
1998 – South Metro Jewish Community becomes South Metro Jewish Congregation, and The Reverends Paul and Cathy Quackenbush make Emmanuel Presbyterian Church available to SMJC for services.
1999 – SMJC celebrates its first Torah and Ark.
2001 – SMJC joins the Union for Reform Judaism and establishes a Jewish Cemetery in Lake Oswego.
2005 – SMJC celebrates its Bat Mitzvah.
2006 – Rabbi Halpern retires. SMJC hires Rabbi Annette Koch as its new Rabbi.
2007 - SMJC adopts a Hebrew name and becomes Beit Haverim. Beit Haverim, House of Friends, expresses the true essence of our congregation.
2009 – Rabbi Alan Berg joins us as our new Rabbi.
Over the years we’ve watched our children blossom into adults, secure in their Jewish identity. We’ve seen unaffiliated Jews, single members, and families of all types find kindred spirits and make enduring friendships. We’ve danced at weddings, rejoiced at namings, celebrated an Bnai Mitzvah, and cried together in times of loss. We’ve transcended religious differences and joined hands in interfaith worship. We welcome you to join us in our Beit Haverim community.