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Petaluma's Inclusive Center for Jewish Life

Our Clergy & Staff

Meet Our Rabbi

Ted Feldman joined B’nai Israel Jewish Center of Petaluma on August 1, 2005. Rabbi Feldman had served as the Center’s interim rabbi from January 1998 until June 1999. After serving for ten years, he left his position as executive director of Jewish Family and Children’s Services of the East Bay in April 2005. Prior to that, he was the executive director of the Jewish Federation of the Sacramento Region. Before coming to California in 1992, he was the campaign director of the South Palm Beach County Jewish Federation in Boca Raton, Florida. In addition to his work in fundraising, Ted was also director of the Jewish Community Relations Council, director of planning, and responsible for the federation’s Jewish education efforts in South Palm Beach County. Rabbi Feldman served two synagogues during his extensive career in Columbus, GA (8 years) and Boca Raton, FL (6 years).

With a lifelong commitment to the Jewish and general community, he received his bachelors degree in psychology at Roosevelt University in Chicago and a Master of Arts and ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. After fourteen years in congregational work, Rabbi Feldman entered the community agency system and has now returned to serve our congregation.

Rabbi Ted Feldman brings to our community a broad range of knowledge and experience. He is married to Jirapat ("Ben") and has two adult children, Aviva and Josh (Stacy), who live on the East coast, and a young daughter named Liora.

Rabbi Feldman may be reached at 707-765-2937 or

Gan Israel Director - Leslee Lauritzen

Leslee Lauritzen has been educating children at B'nai Israel Jewish Center since 1990. She has a master's degree in Early Childhood Education from Sonoma State, as well a California Department of Education Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. She has been the Director of Gan Israel Preschool since 2005. Leslee specializes in Jewish Education, Curriculum Development, Music Appreciation, Social and Emotional Development and Education, Teacher Training and Support. Leslee is married to Chad, and has three wonderful children: Samantha, Joseph  and Michelle.

You can contact Leslee at 707-763-5136 or

Outreach and Programming - Hillary Fox

Hillary Fox is our new outreach and programming director. A native of Los Angeles and longtime resident of Marin County, she received her degree from CSU–Long Beach in Theatre Tech and has worked in theatrical production management and has helped to found two schools. A member of Kol Shofar, Hillary lives in San Rafael with her husband, two daughters and their Labradoodle, Brady. Contact her at

Communications Coordinator - Ruth Wilson

Ruth Wilson has lived in California since 2001, coming from Oneonta, New York. She has worked in marketing for numerous arts organizations in New York and California, most recently as marketing assistant, program annotator and music publicist at Sonoma State University. She plays and teaches the French horn and holds degrees from the University of Denver (MA-Music) and Hartwick College (BS-Music Education). Ruth combines her love of music and language by leyning on Shabbat at B’nai Israel. Contact her at

Administrative Assistant -  Charlene Perslon

Charlene Perlson has recently joined us as administrative assistant. She currently works in the office from 9 AM-1 PM, five days a week. A native of Brooklyn, Charlene fell in love with California at age 10, moving to San Francisco after college. She now resides in Petaluma. Formerly working in sales, selling uniforms to casinos, Charlene confesses that the sounds of slot machines drive her crazy. Contact Charlene at

Webmaster - Lisa Basalto

Lisa Basalto has worked in web, layout and graphic design since 2001. She got her start designing websites as a hobby, and has been the webmaster at BIJC since 2008. In addition to designing websites, she has worked as an afterschool teacher and as a writer. She graduated from Sonoma State University in 2007, and lived throughout the Bay Area and Central Valley of California for most of her life before finally moving to northwest Oregon in 2013. You can contact her at

Mon, January 20 2020 23 Tevet 5780