In February 1989, a small chavurah (group) decided to hold a
Shabbat service for the south King County Jewish community. The members
decided to hold a meeting to discover if there was sufficient interest
to form a synagogue in this area. Surprisingly,more than 100 people
overflowed the tiny downtown East Kent Library. On April 15, 1989, the
dream became a reality, under Roy Golub’s leadership. The Community
Synagogue of South King County was born.
Although this name fit us in location,it didn’t give us a Jewish
identity. So, after a couple of years, our religious school children
held a contest to re-name our synagogue.
The winning name was Bet Chaverim (House of Friends) and it fit us perfectly!
From the start, it was clear that this would be a family-oriented synagogue,
with quality education for children and adults,observing Jewish
traditions and rituals, and providing a friendly and diversified
community which would nuture and enrich the Jewish soul.
Through the years, we have moved to different locations. We were
fortunate to find a “temporary” home in the Saltwater Unitarian Church,
in Des Moines, Washington, and have been renting there for over 15
Through the years, members of our congregation have performed lay-led
services, holiday services, and taught in our Sunday school, as well as
volunteer for special events, fundraisers, and various other functions
of our community. Our congregation has been very blessed to have an
active choir through the first decades. We continue to be supported by
various musical talents during festivals and services, with joyous music
during Shabbat services, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, weddings, Passover, and High
We have had four wonderful rabbis in our employ, over the years,
leading our services and community life-cycle events. Our first rabbi,
Ted Stainman, served as our rabbi for ten years, retiring in
2005. Rabbi Zari Weiss and then Student Rabbi Amy Rossel served our
community for two years each. “Rabbi Rick Harkavy led our community from 2009 — 6/2015.
Rabbi Emily Meyer was hired to be our rabbi in July 2015.
Bet Chaverim continues to be the nucleus for Reform Judaism in the South
King County area. We are a small, but thriving community of committed
members who have seen our organization grow from a fledgling chavurah into a progressive, dynamic synagogue.
We welcome and invite new members to be a part of our ongoing growth and goals for our continued future!