Our Vision & Mission
Bet Alef is an inclusive spiritual community practicing an evolving Judaism as a path to awakening. We foster a Jewish spirituality for all ages that supports each individual, is realized in community, and manifests itself in our world as peaceful acts of greater compassion and love.
Our Founding Rabbi
Rabbi Ted Falcon founded Bet Alef in 1993 to encourage a deeper celebration of Judaism as an authentic spiritual path. A Reform-ordained Rabbi himself, he was among the pioneer rabbis in the 1960s and 70s who rediscovered and made available—not just in theory but also in practice—the mystical teachings embedded in Judaism, and especially its many forms of Jewish meditation before anyone dared to even put these two words together. After 9/11, Rabbi Ted added to his mystical focus,
the interfaith work of reconciliation that he saw was needed at a time when anti-Muslim prejudice was rising in our country. To this day, he shares the treasures of the Jewish Way in interfaith contexts with Sheikh Jamal Rahman and Pastor Don Mackenzie, the other Interfaith Amigos, with whom he has written Getting to the Heart of Interfaith and Religion Gone Astray: What We Found at the Heart of Interfaith.
Our Current Rabbi
Rabbi Olivier BenHaim, has served Bet Alef as its rabbi since 2009. He studied under Rabbi Falcon for many years and has continued the work of his mentor not only in exploring the spiritual path of Jewish meditation and mysticism through the millennia-old teachings of its masters, but also in strengthening the ties between all faith-traditions in the pursuit of mutual understanding and peace. It is no mistake that Bet Alef has found a home at Seattle First Baptist Church, nor that Rabbi Olivier and Reverend Tim Philips (of SFBC) co-led a trip to Israel in 2016. Rabbi Olivier leads meditation retreats, and many workshops on different aspects of Kabbalah—Jewish mysticism—and the deepening practices of mindfulness Judaism has to offer.
Why are we called ” Bet Alef”?
Alef and Bet are the first two letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The alef is the silent letter that symbolizes the silence of Spirit from which all sound flows. The name of the letter bet means “house”.
Our synagogue is named Bet Alef because we are creating a bet alef – a home for the Jewish spirit. Through a meditative approach to Jewish tradition, text, ritual, and identity, we support a spiritual deepening that can express through acts of greater compassion in the world.
Each of us is bet alef, a home for the spirit. At Bet Alef, we seek to link our spirituality with our daily living.
Listen to one of our meditations: