Our Mission

Temple Beth Chai strives to develop Jewish people, children and adults, families and singles, who have a love and pride in being Jewish, a positive Jewish identity, a strong understanding and application of Jewish Ethics, History, Practices and Spirituality, knowledge and appreciation of the Hebrew language; kinship with Israel: the motivation to pursue lifelong Jewish learning, and a personal relationship with God.

Our Story

Temple Beth Chai was founded by our spiritual leader, Rabbi Jonathan Kaplan, in December of 2003.

Temple Beth Chai is a liberal, independent Congregation not affiliated with any one movement of Judaism. We are a synagogue open to all who wish to celebrate the Jewish traditions. Whether it is the singing of the opening melodies and lighting of Shabbat candles which commences our Friday Night Services or the Oneg (mini-feast), which follows immediately thereafter, our spiritual community is welcoming to all.

Our service is a diverse blend of Hebrew and English readings, traditional and contemporary melodies, communal and individual Prayers thoughtfully and strategically woven to involve all attending congregants.

Born out of the awareness that the traditional “brick and mortar” synagogues were not fulfilling the needs of the community, Temple Beth Chai is inviting, accessible and engaging.

This is the creation of the efforts of Rabbi Kaplan, whose dream became a reality. TBC’s members span many age groups with varied backgrounds, which include Jewish and interfaith beliefs.

In the five years since our birth, our monthly Friday evening “Kabbalat Shabbat” attendance has grown from 40 to over 200 people. We hope that through the sharing of positive experiences with one another, including your circle of family and friends that we will continue to grow even stronger.

“It is up to us to create and keep our community.”

Spiritual Leadership

  • Rabbi Jonathan Kaplan
    Rabbi Jonathan Kaplan Founder and Spiritual Leader

    Rabbi Jonathan Kaplan is an independent Modern Rabbi. He is a graduate of the Rabbinical Seminary International, receiving his rabbinic ordination (smeicha) on May 1, 1994. Rabbi Kaplan is known for his creative and meaningful life-cycle ceremonies that he performs throughout Florida, the United States and the Caribbean.

    • Police Chaplain for the Coral Springs Police and Fire Depts.
    • Member of the International Conference of Police Chaplains
    • Member of The Rabbinical Fellowship of America.
    • Affiliate member of the National Association of Jewish Chaplains (NAJC).
    • A founding member of the International Federation of Rabbis (IFR).

    Rabbi JK provides the following services:

    Traditional or Interfaith Weddings

    Mazel Tov and Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! Just as each bride and groom is unique, so should their wedding ceremony. The ceremony is all about the union of two hearts and making an everlasting promise.

    Rabbi Jonathan takes pride in personalizing each and every wedding ceremony resulting in the most meaningful and beautiful creation specifically for you. Interfaith couples are warmly welcomed by Rabbi Jonathan as his soothing and understanding approach offers comfort to many mixed faith couples. He is flexible to your needs and familiar to your Religious beliefs which puts you at ease and eliminates any questions. Interfaith ceremonies are just one of the many customized memories attained with Rabbi Jonathan’s unique ways. Whether your needs be Traditional or Liberal, he will assist and achieve in setting the tone for the memory of a lifetime.“When the food and music are forgotten, the ceremony will be long remembered by all.”

    Bar/Bat Mitzvahs

    Bar/Bat Mitzvah embraces two concepts: Bar meaning son, Bat for daughter, and Mitzvah meaning commandment.
    At the age of 13 for boys and 12 for girls, they reach an age where they assume the ritual obligations and privileges under Jewish law. Becoming a full-fledged member of the Jewish religion is a very important milestone, so much so that this ceremony becomes a pinnacle in their young life; a memory forever. Rabbi Jonathan’s calming personality lends the necessary “comfort zone” that is essential for proper preparation for each student.Confidence and calmness is most prevalent within the first few minutes of meeting with Rabbi Jonathan.

    A family is rest assured that as their young child enters their Jewish adulthood, they will also mature to gain knowledge, poise, and confidence for their upcoming Simcha. Any family that is requesting such a ceremony may do so, even if their child may not be enrolled in any Hebrew School or may not have had any prior Religious School Education. Private tutoring is available for any student, which spans over a period of 10-12 months. It begins with the learning of the Hebrew Alef-Bet and concludes with this young Jewish adult reading from the Torah during his/her Bar/Bat Mitzvah. Rabbi Jonathan offers his personalized, meaningful ceremonies at the location of your choice. Whether it be in a banquet hall, hotel, country club or in your own home, this warm and musical ceremony will be a “once in a lifetime” memory.

    Baby/Child Namings

    To hold a newborn in our arms is to behold a miracle.

    We begin the journey of parenthood in celebration. There are foods to be prepared, people to be called, announcements to be made and invitations to be extended. The family is swaddled in attention and rituals. A private matter becomes a communal event, for at the celebration the child, the family and the people of the community are bound together as one. Family and friends gather as the ceremony unfolds and becomes a beauty of its own. Rabbi Jonathan offers baby naming services, ritually acknowledging a child’s entry into God’s Holy Covenant while enabling the parents to proclaim publicly the child’s name. Parents, siblings, uncles, aunts, grandparents and all friends gather with the same thought, “Please guide their steps. And protect this child throughout life.” Rabbi Jonathan will personalize a warm and intimate baby naming ceremony at the location of your choice or at our Friday Night Shabbat Services.

    Funerals/Memorial Services

    Healing happens slowly, over the course of time. When a loved one dies, no matter what the person’s age or circumstances, the family is often in shock. Their lives have been turned upside down. Their hurt is fresh and their wound is deep. Rabbi Jonathan offers his many years of experience counseling families during this most difficult time in their lives. He meets with family members to discuss issues in depth and attempts to gather as much information prior to writing his eulogy for the departed. He speaks words of comfort to the family of the departed, detailing the positive attributes, signature ways and legacy of the deceased. Younger generations may learn of their departed family member with a more in-depth service that is provided by Rabbi Jonathan. His services create a warm, calming and spiritual emotion felt amongst all in attendance. Rabbi Jonathan offers a true honor and tribute that your family member deserves.


  • Cantor Andy Susman
    Cantor Andy Susman Cantorial Soloist & Song Leader
    Temple Beth Chai’s Services sound more beautiful each month with the voice and spiritual sounds of Andy Susman’s  music..  Andy’s been with Temple Beth Chai since its inaugural service in December 2003, when Rabbi Kaplan and Andy joined their creative spirits.  For those of you who plan to attend one of our Friday Evening Shabbat Celebrations or High Holiday Services, then you are in for a joyful experience.

    He has also lent his beautiful voice and guitar playing to B’nai Mitzvah and Wedding ceremonies.  Andy has more than 25 years of experience as a song leader and been affiliated with numerous synagogues in both Miami-Dade and Broward Counties.  He was a member of JNF’s National Performing Artists’ Troupe, on staff for over 20 years at various JCC and BBYO Summer Camp programs, and twice attended HAVA NASHIRA, the National Song Leaders Institute sponsored by the Reform Movement.  He is also a member of the Folk Club of South Florida ( Dade ) and Broward Folk Club.

    As an outgrowth of his background in Education and Social Work, Andy worked for over a decade with “At-Risk” teenagers at an alternative high school program in Miami   While the focus there was primarily on academics, Andy did manage to bring an occasional song into the mix, which helped to keep the kids motivated.

    Andy considers himself to be an eclectic Jew, gleaning from all movements and ‘Schools of Thought’ . His goal is the creation of a meaningful service that speaks to the heart, mind and soul of our congregation.  His repertoire includes a blend of Traditional Hazzanut, Israeli Folk, Traditional American Folk  & Contemporary  “Pop”/American Jewish Folk melodies.  In the Spring 2010, he will be releasing his first, full length, CD  entitled,

    ‘The Megiddo Project – A Prayer Journey’.
    ( Debut Album 2010 )  HeartsMindsandMusic.com
    Communicating the joy of Judaism and Spirituality through music, imagery and text
    954-471-3697 andy@HeartsMindsandMusic.com

    It is a contemporary celebration of liturgy presenting a blend of JAZZ, FOLK, POP, ROCK and WORLD BEAT melodies.  A lifetime in the making, friends have commented that the music touches their heart and soul.  Andy can be reached at  Cantoras@TempleBethChai.com 

  • Phyllis Lasky
    Phyllis Lasky Education Director

    Our Children are the Future!

    We must provide for them, nurture them and educate them with the best knowledgeable approach.

    And, it was for solely for them, that I challenged myself 14 years ago to succeed in what we offer to your children today.

    The TBC Religious School Staff and I promote a warm family atmosphere for every student and their family from the moment they walk through our doors.

    We pride ourselves on our unique approach in modern day Judaic Education which makes us quite “unique.”

    Our curriculum covers Hebrew, Holidays, Tradition, Heritage, Bible Israel and the spirituality of God united with our personal experiences and stories to keep the programs very interesting.

    But, the pinnacle of our success equates to the comprehension and acquisition of the following:

    I am proud to be a Jew, today, and will be proud to be a Jew,

    at whatever age and where ever life may take me.

    It is my heritage, my past, my present, my future.