Located in Palo Alto California, Congregation Etz Chayim is a vibrant Jewish community, participatory and egalitarian, independent and inclusive, which melds elements from Judaism’s different branches to create our own practices. Together with our spiritual leader, Rabbi Chaim Koritzinsky, our congregants are exploring what it means for each of us to identify as a Jew (or a part of a Jewish family).
Whether you are steeped in Jewish tradition or new to it, you will feel comfortable and challenged to learn more. We are large enough, with around 300 households, to offer the religious, educational, and social options you expect while remaining small enough for everyone to learn your name. Our congregants include members of traditional, interfaith, single parent, same sex, and blended families who represent a broad range of socioeconomic backgrounds, political affiliations, and geographic diversity.
Join us Friday night or Saturday morning for a service, come by to help us celebrate a festival, or drop in any time during the week to talk to our staff and tour the building.
Everyone, member or not, is always welcome. Check our calendar for our schedule of service and events
Who belongs to Etz Chayim?
We are Jews who were raised Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist or Orthodox. We are Jews who have or have not been Bar/Bat Mitzvah. We are Jews by choice or part of an interfaith family. Some us are intrigued by Judaism. Our common thread is that we are all interested in furthering our spiritual life, Jewish education and community participation.
Where do Etz Chayim members generally live?
While our synagogue is centrally located in Palo Alto, our membership comes from as far south as San Martin and as far North as San Francisco.
What about non-Jewish members?
We embrace those who are in mixed households and make our Jewish congregational life accessible to non-Jews, through a warm welcome into our synagogue, transliteration of all Hebrew texts recited congregationally, and explanations of rituals. We go to great lengths to include willing non-Jews in life cycle rituals. We do not pressure anyone to convert, but will guide any non-Jew who chooses that option through conversion counseling and study with the Rabbi. Find us on the InterfaithFamily.com network.
How does Etz Chayim keep in contact with its community?
Our website is maintained almost daily, eBulletins with Etz Chayim news are sent weekly, Etz Alerts are sent occasionally, and our newsletter, Connections, is mailed quarterly. We also have a smartphone app for members to share photos and ideas and access our member directory.
Do we prepare children for Bar and Bat Mitzvah?
Yes. Our Bar/Bat Mitzvah program is renowned.
Can I attend a Shabbat service to check out the community?
YES! PLEASE! We welcome everyone to our Friday and Saturday services. Everyone (of any age) is welcome any week to attend our services, meet us and enjoy the socializing and treats afterward. No reservations are required. Rabbi Chaim Koritzinsky leads services three weekends per month. Other services are lay-led by members, including a monthly contemplative service. Check the calendar on our website for times, service leaders and special programs.
Congregation Etz Chayim emphasizes spirituality, participation, and lifelong learning in a warm, inclusive egalitarian community. Services, led by Rabbi Chaim Koritzinsky, meld elements from Judaism’s different branches.
Click on the picutre of the cypress tree to find out more out the Etz Chayim Logo. Click on the picture of the Etz Chayim Sign for contact information.