Program Overview

What is Beth Shalom?

Beth Shalom "House of Peace" , V. Ronald & Diane L. Smith Home for a New Start provides interim housing and supportive services for women leaving prison and allows them to reunite with their children. The program teaches positive parenting, life skills, and financial responsibility through schooling & employment, equipping participants with the knowledge and skills they need to achieve responsible lives. Christian faith is at the core of Beth Shalom's guiding principles and objectives.


This program is about ending recidivism, providing education of Christian principles, and reuniting women in the program with their children.


Beth Shalom's facility has five apartments. Residents pay 30% of their income.


Beth Shalom's Residents

During their stay at Beth Shalom, residents must work or receive training for 30 hours each week as well as participate in life-skills and faith-base programs and, if needed, mental health counseling and drug or alcohol treatment. As they conclude the program, aftercare and support helps them secure and maintain permanent rental housing.


Each family must adhere to the program requirements during their stay, including abiding by the rules of the program & participation in Christian discipleship classes, an aftercare program, intensive supportive services, a protective payee program, and a resident/tenant council.


Program Mission

To end prison recidivism by providing a comprehensive Christian interim housing program for single mothers leaving prison, where they can reunite with their children and be empowered with the skills and opportunities necessary for long-term self-sufficiency.


Ethel Hershey & a group of volunteers opened Beth Shalom in 1987 to unwed mothers who needed a "house of peace." The new ministry purchased a home at 47 North Lime Street in Lancaster. The program worked well, gaining endorsement from leaders like Larry Burkett & author Marvin Olasky. Over the next decade, grandparents, school districts, and additional support networks in the community met the needs of teen moms. In addition, teen pregnancy itself began to drop. With fewer teen moms needing its services, Beth Shalom opened its doors to adult moms in 1997.


Eventually costly repairs (lead-based paint, high utility bills, and a mortgage) drained the organization of its resources & time. The facility costs were too much of the overall budget at the 47 North Lime Street home, which forced Beth Shalom to sell.

With modest proceeds from the sale in hand & the need for Beth Shalom to continue, the board embarked on two goals.


First, it decided it wanted to reopen its doors by collaborating with an established organization that could bring the stability & record of accomplishment Beth Shalom needed to continue the ministry. After researching various alternatives, it decided that Tabor could provide what Beth Shalom needed.


Secondly, the Board talked to other ministries to see which segment(s) of single moms currently slip through the cracks of care. Through this research, they learned that many women leave prison with no place to go. Many of these women need an apartment they can afford, a place where their children can return, and the loving accountability of a program to help rebuild their lives. Beth Shalom & Tabor Community Services completed its merger.