Central Oregon has a thriving Jewish community. Jewish families, singles and retirees from around the country fall in love with the area, discover Temple Beth Tikvah and join to make friends and connections. TBT is Central Oregon’s only Reform Jewish congregation and welcomes Jews by birth and Jews by choice.
It all began in 2008 when twenty-five Jews came to Shabbat dinner… to explore the idea of forming a new shul in Bend. They left with a commitment to secure a Reform affiliation and a name, Temple Beth Tikvah— House of Hope. “We were running on faith with no clue how to form a congregation but somehow we did it,” exclaims Ann Rosenfield, the host of that pivotal meeting.
From their first High Holy Days with two rabbis from Portland and a cantor from San Francisco, the scrappy founders managed to recruit rabbis throughout the year, get old prayer books for free, borrow a Torah, and locate low-cost and no-cost venues to hold services and events. In year one, the temple grew to 40 charter families. Celebrating Sukkot at a member’s house and Chanukah at the Environmental Center, they eventually landed at the Methodist Church, the first church, but not the last, they would call home.
Today, nearly 90 families benefit from that vision. In addition to attending services for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, and celebrating Passover and other holidays, TBT members connect, learn and grow through Shabbat services, Tot Shabbats, Shabbat@Home dinners, adult education, Torah study, social action, Sunday school, Hebrew school, bar/bat mitzvah training, family picnics, Havdallahs with a maven, and more. Given the sacred work of Rabbi Johanna Hershenson, a focused board of directors and selfless volunteers, the temple is poised to continue growing.