“Way back when, a small group of us began dreaming up The Soul Center by envisioning a sandbox; a place where people could come to play, to experiment, and explore a Judaism infused with spirituality, ancient wisdom, and tradition. We’re proud that three years into the adventure, we haven’t let go of that mindset. Nothing is fixed here. We are a constant work in progress. And we are always aspiring, dreaming, and reimagining. So come join our adventure. I promise it will be fun!”

—Rabbi Dana Saroken

Rabbi Dana Saroken -


The Alvin & Lois Lapidus Center for Healing & Spirituality, also known as The Soul Center, was established in the summer of 2015 as a startup by Beth El Congregation. It all began when Beth El’s Rabbi Dana Saroken and a small team of innovative clergy and lay leaders started meeting with members of the Baltimore Jewish community to talk about bringing a meaningful, practical dimension of Judaism into their already busy lives. Why Beth El? As one of this country’s largest and most vibrant congregations, Beth El’s visionaries were uniquely positioned to take the lead. They understood that next-gen Judaism would require bold thinking and innovative design.

These exploratory conversations about spiritual yearnings breathed life into possibilities…and led the Lapidus family, longtime congregants of Beth El, to make a significant investment that allowed the dream of The Soul Center to become a reality. In November of 2016, with Rabbi Saroken as our visionary leader and spiritual guide, we officially opened the door to our stunning, retreat-like space located on the campus of Beth El.

In the few short years since, The Soul Center has already welcomed thousands of participants from the greater Baltimore Jewish community (and beyond). Open to everyone from every aspect of Jewish life, we offer programs geared to an adult audience and designed to address mindfulness, healing, rejuvenation, and growth—all with a Jewish twist. From weekly meditation sits to cooking and yoga classes, The Soul Center offers an accessible and experiential opportunity for members of the Baltimore Jewish community to unplug from the everyday, tune into their Jewish heritage, and connect with others and themselves.

Alvin & Lois Lapidus hold the distinction of being our lead funders in the earliest days of The Soul Center. Longtime Beth El members, their legacy of generosity and support for cutting-edge ideas that enhance the Baltimore community is alive and well here at The Soul Center.