URJ President to Speak at 75th Anniversary of Baton Rouge’s Beth Shalom

Beth Shalom in Baton Rouge kicks off its 75th anniversary celebration with a January weekend that includes a visit by Union for Reform Judaism President Rabbi Rick Jacobs.

On Jan. 10 at 6:30 p.m., there will be a musical Shabbat service, where Jacobs will speak. A dinner will follow at 7:30 p.m.

On Jan. 11, there will be a Covenant and Conversations learning session with Jacobs, followed by a 10 a.m. service and a noon luncheon. After lunch, local artist Susan Arnold will lead a 75th anniversary glass art project.

The weekend will end with a 7 p.m. Havdalah cocktail reception and live music.

The weekend of Aug. 7, there will be an anniversary Shabbaton, including a 75th anniversary dinner and show on Aug. 8, and a breakfast on Aug. 9 that includes a session on Torah repairs with a scribe.

The 144-family congregation is also hosting an online trivia quiz, with 75 questions about the congregation’s history. There is also a “75 Trees for the 75th Anniversary” campaign to plant 75 trees on the property, using Biblical and native species.

Anniversary sponsorship levels start at $180 and go up to the $10,000 level to sponsor all of the events and 36 written words in the Torah. There is also an online store for anniversary T-shirts, socks, mugs, phone cases and more.

While a Reform congregation, Beth Shalom was founded to provide “a home for traditional Judaism in Baton Rouge… where Reform, Conservative and Orthodox Jews can all find a spiritual home” and initially took the name Liberal Synagogue when it was formed by 19 families in 1945. Shortly after building their current building in 1980, they adopted their Hebrew name.