MALVERN, Pa. – Dr. Ira Gelman, Ph.D assumed the position of Religious School Director of Education on June 1, 2015.  Dr. Gelman takes over from Rabbi Aileen Hollander, who served as the congregation’s rabbi 2002 – 2014 and retired from serving as the Director of Education in June, 2015.

Dr. Gelman grew up in the Bronx, NYC and graduated from Temple University in 1983 with a BS in secondary education specializing in teaching history. As a teenager, he was fascinated with the history of the Jewish people and modern day Israel and was motivated to experience living in Israel.  After graduating from Temple in 1983 he spent the next three years living in Israel first teaching English to high school students in Kiryat Shimona, then lived on Kibbutz Ma'agan Michael also as a teacher, then as a lone soldier while serving in the Israeli army.

Dr. Gelman has taught a spectrum of courses at the Jewish Community High School of Gratz College for 29 years ranging from beginning Hebrew, understanding bibical text, Jewish morals and values, history of Israel, family psychology, Israel advocacy, as well as education and Middle Eastern courses for college credit. Dr. Gelman studied at Yad Vashem one summer with Yad Vashem scholars developing a greater understanding of the history of the Shoah (the Holocaust), along with educational rationale in teaching students of different ages about the Shoah. He also led a high school tour for six weeks to Israel in the past. Dr. Gelman helped pilot Moving Traditions "The Brotherhood;" a program developed to help Jewish-American male teens connect with their Jewish heritage. In addition, he taught in various religious schools in Bucks, Chester and Montgomery Counties over the past 29 years."

Dr. Gelman has been teaching psychology & AP psychology for the past 28 years at Perkiomen Valley HS. He has a MA in "psychoeducational processes" from Temple and a Ph.D. in "human sexuality studies" from Widener University which he finished in 2014. The title of his doctoral dissertation was "The impact of gender on how Jewish-American adolescents experience their identity as a minority in the US."  Dr. Gelman hopes to share the results of his research with the community.

In addition, he is an instructor at Montgomery County Community College teaching courses on self-defense and human sexuality. In his free time, Dr. Gelman enjoys Tae-Kwon Do and kayaking.

Dr. Gelman has two sons aged 24 and 20 and two daughters aged 23 and 14. His 24 year old son is an accountant while his 20 year old son is proudly serving in the US Marines. His 23 year old daughter co-owns a gym and specializes in training high school and college athletes in Downingtown, PA, while his 14 year old daughter will be a sophomore at Oley Valley HS this coming fall. He lives on 14 acres of woods in Oley, PA with a rescue cat and two rescue pit-bulls.

When asked about his thoughts on Beth Chaim, Dr. Gelman replied that he has been impressed and energized by the great people and religious school staff he has met at Beth Chaim and he looks forward to not only helping to strengthen and enhance an amazing religious school, but to becoming a member of our fantastic community!

Please join us as we welcome Dr. Ira Gelman to our community on Friday, August 28th for Shabbat services and fun-filled ice cream social at 7 pm.

The welcoming of our new Rabbi, Michelle Pealrman, has been covered recently by some local news sources.  Thanks to the help of our PR volunteers, Ronna Dewey and Linda Harris, the following articles have announced our exciting news!  Click here to view the article ->  08/03/2014 Jewish Exponent Article.

We are pleased to announce the creation of a brand new Facebook page. Please LIKE and SHARE the new page – BETH CHAIM REFORM CONGREGATION, MALVERN PA – with your friends, family, neighbors and potential new members. This new page will be used frequently to share Beth Chaim news, notes from Rabbi Pearlman, temple happenings, calendar updates, Religious School activities, community activities and so much more.

Why the change?  For years on Facebook, people were creating groups. Beth Chaim's old page is a group. Unfortunately, the group page has limited functionality. It is more closed to the general public. You cannot have more than one administrator or official person who can post. This will allow us to be much more collaborative and have a more vibrant page. Also, social media marketing experts advise converting groups into pages that can be 'liked' by the general public because increasingly, people are using Facebook to interact with organizations that they support.

We chose to create a non-profit 'page' to be the public face of Beth Chaim in the same way that any great website is the public face of an organization. With this change, we are just updating our Facebook presence for maximum functionality. We want people to get to know our congregation and the amazing warmth that is Beth Chaim. Migrating the content from the group to the new page will help us increase our reach.

This is an open group; anyone with a Facebook account can join. We would prefer not to filter the page, but rest assured it will be monitored. We remind all members who are posting on the page to be mindful that your words, photos and commentary are a representation of our Beth Chaim family.

In addition, we will close and delete the Beth Chaim Reform Facebook “group” on September 1st. Hopefully this will allow all members ample time to make the switch.

Not sure which Facebook page to LIKE? The new page is called “BETH CHAIM REFORM CONGREGATION, MALVERN PA”. The cover page is a photo of the sanctuary.


Beth Chaim is pleased to participate in the Amazon Associates Program, which enables members and guests to participate in fundraising for the temple at no cost. If you click the link on our home page (or on the Support Us page) to reach to do your on-line shopping, a percentage of all sales will be returned to Beth Chaim.  Please share our link with your friends and family!  All purchases are secure and confidential.  

10/06/2015 - 6:00pm

New This Month for the Men's Club - Minaiture Golf and Dinner!

First, we'll meet at Tee It Up Miniature Golf at 6PM:


   21 Hagerty Blvd. 
   West Chester, PA  19382

Then, we'll head to Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant for dinner, drinks and friendship at 7:15PM

Iron Hill

   3 Gay Street
   West Chester, PA  19380

In case of inclement weather, we'll just meet at Iron Hill at 6:30.

All are welcome.  Please join us!

10/09/2015 - 7:30pm

Join us as we unroll the torah for Simchat Torah and also consecrate K-1 and new student and religious school teachers with blessings

10/11/2015 - 10:15am

Sharing personal stories on Race and Justice

10/17/2015 - 6:00pm

Movie, Havdalah and Challah Making