Bat Yam was founded 29 years ago as a place for resident and visiting Jews to come together as an extended Jewish family, to participate in Shabbat and holiday prayer, to observe the rituals of our shared faith, and to study and derive meaning from our tradition and texts. While Bat Yam is a Reform congregation, our members come from all Jewish denominations and backgrounds.


    Over this quarter century, Bat Yam has become a unique adult congregation, whose membership is blessed with the leisure and good fortune to choose participation in renewed Jewish life.  We have raised our families; have watched children (and grandchildren . . . and, even, some great grandchildren!) become Bar or Bat Mitzvah; and have participated as leaders and active members in our prior synagogues.


    Now, at Bat Yam, we together participate in Judaism through this lens of a life’s worth of experience and insight. For some of us, this means reconnecting to our Judaism in deeper ways.  For others, this means coming to Judaism anew.  For all of us, Bat Yam provides an opportunity to explore Judaism with new eyes and hearts and with the enthusiasm of experience.


   We are an egalitarian Reform synagogue, that is fully welcoming of all.  Our programs are religiously engaging, intellectually stimulating, and filled with philosophical and moral introspection.  Our members are involved in Jewish, interfaith and non-Jewish issues and activities in the immediate and larger communities. 


  If you can’t be physically present, join our Jewish community through this website. You will see and experience some of our services, celebrations and educational workshops. We hope you can join us in prayer, learning and community.


Beginning in December, Shabbat worship services will be livestreamed via Zoom from SCUCC Fellowship Hall, led by Rabbi Stephen Fuchs with singing by Cantor Murray Simon and piano accompaniment by Abbey Allison. Services begin at 7:30pm on the following Fridays:

December 4, 11, 18, 25

January 1, 8, 15, 22, 29

February 5, 12, 19, 26

The Zoom link for services will be sent to members via email.  Anyone interested in joining can receive the Zoom link by writing to us at batyamsanibel@gmail.com.  All are welcome

Commentaries and Messages


                                              Tanya Hochschild


Sanibel’s first ever outdoor menorah lighting ceremony took place on the east end of the island on Thursday December 10, the first night of Hanukkah. Masked and socially-distanced celebrants gathered in the parking lot of the Seahorse Shopping Center, where Tal and Odad Yahav, the new owners of the EmOcean store had together with our trustee Alan Fisher, conceived the idea to light a giant, 9foot Hanukkiah. (Menorah.)


Other tenants of the Seahorse Shopping Center who also sponsored the Hannukiah and other Hannukah decorations included Dan Bilheimer of The Lighthouse Café, Bob and Pauline Tuttle from Tuttle’s Sea Horse Shell Shop and Laurie and Alice Verme of Sanibel’s Finest Ice Cream (formerly Pinocchio’s.)

City Manager, Judy Zimomra attended and spoke at the ceremony. Fifty congregants watched via Zoom and over 400 people posted “comments” that night and the next day on Facebook as well as viewing a recording of the ceremony on YouTube.

Rabbi Stephen Fuchs officiated, delivered an eloquent address and Tanya Hochschild read a Hanukkah story she had researched.


Afterwards the crowd enjoyed jellied doughnuts – known in Israel as sufganiyot, which the Yahav brothers had brought from a Floridian west coast Jewish deli. These, together with latkes (potato pancakes) are symbolic foods eaten at Hanukkah.


Both are fried in oil, which commemorates the miracle of the small jar of oil miraculously lasting for eight days. Annually Jews celebrate the miracle of the Festival of Lights. A new tradition has started on Sanibel, next year hopefully without masks and social distancing.