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Petaluma's Inclusive Center for Jewish Life

Adapting to Our New Normal

In light of COVID 19 and the safety measures now in place, all Shabbat services, programs and community activities are suspended until such time as California's restrictions on in-person gatherings are lifted. You will continue to receive the weekly newsletter by e-mail every Wednesday (it will also continue to be posted here on the website by end-of-day every Thursday).

Shabbat Services Continue on Zoom

Our "new normal" will include, among other things, regular Shabbat services on Zoom. All members of the community are welcome and invited to join with Rabbi Ted Feldman every Shabbat for Torah study, prayers and Mourner's Kaddish. 

In order to protect our members and the integrity of our Shabbat service, we will not be sharing the Zoom links publicly. The link to our Zoom Shabbat services will be sent via email to our members in the e-mail version of the weekly announcements (sent on Wednesdays) and again in a separate e-mail on Fridays.

Zoom Help is Here

If you are having any problems using Zoom, please email and we will be happy to assist you.

We are here to help, now more than ever

If you, or someone you know, needs help for any reason, from picking up groceries or childcare, to helping making ends meet or just a non-judging listener, please contact Rabbi Ted Feldman (707-765-2937) or BIJC President Stu Nissenbaum (707-321-8921) so that we may reach out. 

Weekly Announcements

Our weekly bulletin is issued every Wednesday and is typically uploaded to our website by end-of-day Thursday. Want to have it sent straight to your inbox? Sign up here!

4 Sivan, 5780 | May 27, 2020

Weekly Shabbat Information

Thursday, May 28
Shavuot begins at sundown.

Friday, May 29
Candle lighting at 8:08 p.m.
Shavuot I and Tikkun Leyl Shavuot via Zoom 7:00 p.m. (details below)

Saturday, May 30
Shavuot II
Torah reading: Deu. 14:22-16:17; Num. 28:26-31
Shabbat Zoom Service at 10 a.m.

Thoughts on the Shabbat Reading

Shavuot I - Exodus 19:1-20:23, Numbers 28:26-31
Shavuot II - Shabbat - Deuteronomy 14:22-16:17, Numbers 28:26-31

Shavuot is the 50th day after Passover, celebrating the day the Israelites received the Torah from God. Our mental associations with this holiday are different from other holidays in that there are no proscribed rituals: we are not commanded to blow a shofar, refrain from eating, shake a lulav, or eat matzah. Instead, we study Torah. Some communities stay up all night studying Torah, to "make up" for the fact that our ancestors overslept on the day God granted them an audience. We also read the Book of Ruth, the Moabite widow whose devotion to her Jewish mother-in-law and adoption of Jewish ways mirrors the covenantal relationship between the children of Israel and God. To some, Shavuot means eating cheesecake, recalling God's description of Eretz Yisrael as a land flowing with milk and honey. 

Shavuot is typically observed for two days in the diaspora, including some but not all Reform communities. The Torah reading on the first day includes the moment of revelation as told in Exodus: the thunder, the mountain, the Ten Commandments. On the second day we read from Deuteronomy about the three pilgrimage festivals: Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot.

Tikkun Leyl Shavuot

Shavuot ("weeks") occurs on 6 Sivan (May 29), commemorating the receiving of the Torah at Mount Sinai seven weeks after the exodus from Egypt. Shavuot also marks the beginning of the spring wheat harvest in Israel. Jews around the world observe Shavuot with community Torah study (Tikkun Leyl Shavuot) which includes reading the Book of Ruth and special poems (pittuyim) focusing on the Jewish people's relationship with God. This year, we will incorporate our Tikkun Leyl Shavuot into the Friday evening service. Send us an email at to join us on Zoom.

BIJC & Community News

We are here to help

A Message from Rabbi Ted Feldman and BIJC President Stu Nissenbaum
If you are in need of help, or if you know someone who is in need of help - whether for medical, financial, spiritual or any other reason - please contact Rabbi Ted Feldman (707-765-2937) or BIJC President Stu Nissenbaum (707-321-8921), so that we can reach out. The strength of our community depends on the strength of our relationships with each other, and how we care for those in need.

Hineni - I am here 

Upcoming BIJC Events

Wednesday, May 27, 2 p.m. - Culinary Arts Class on Zoom
Thanks to Fran Piotrkowski for last week's crowd-pleasing Chicken Marabella recipe! This week, learn how Ilene Mattison-Shupnick's Cantucci goes one better than the basic almond biscotti with the addition of dried fruits and pistachios. The Zoom link will open at 1:45 p.m. Class begins at 2. Click here for the recipe, and send us an email at to join the Zoom session!

Friday, May 29, 7 p.m. - Evening Shabbat/Tikkun Leyl Shavuot
Join Rabbi Ted Feldman and singer Anna Leemon to bring Shabbat blessings into your life. We will combine the Shabbat evening service with an abbreviated Tikkun Leyl Shavuot. Send us an email at to join us on Zoom.

Wednesday, June 3, 2 p.m. - Culinary Arts Class on Zoom
The next Culinary Arts Class will take place on Wednesday, June 3, at 2 p.m. featuring Shelley Bauer making her famous Potato Salad. The Zoom link will open at 1:45 p.m. Class begins at 2. Send us an email at to join the Zoom session!

Thursday, June 4, 1 p.m. - Sisterhood Zoom Book Group
We will be discussing The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. To receive an invitation to join the zoom link, please email before 5 p.m. the day before the discussion. 

See our full events calendar

Upcoming Community Events

Interfaith Food Pantry
Thursday, May 28, 4 p.m.

The food pantry at Elim Church has experienced a large increase in families without the means to buy food due to Covid-19. BIJC's pantry coordinator Ilene Mattison-Shupnick reports that it is difficult to anticipate both the number of people getting food and the number of volunteers. If there are too many volunteers, some may be asked to leave in order to maintain social distancing. If you would like to volunteer or have questions, please email Ilene Mattison-Shupnick or call (707) 778-7567. Paper grocery bags are also needed and can be dropped off at the church (504 Baker St.)  Thursday afternoon.

Community Opportunities

  • Sonoma Regional Jewish Teen Initiative: Formed this year to further opportunities for Jewish teens throughout Sonoma and Napa counties to connect to each other and Judaism. We meet monthly to eat, talk and celebrate holidays in unique ways.
  • Interfaith Food Pantry: Join our volunteers from BIJC every fourth Thursday to set up and distribute free groceries from Redwood Food Bank to persons in need. Approximately one hour of your time helps so many. Meet at 4:45 p.m. at Elim Lutheran, just one block east of BIJC at 504 Baker Street. 
  • The Jewish Community Free Clinic, located at 50 Montgomery Drive, Santa Rosa, provides a wide range of free medical services to persons who are uninsured. Info: (707) 585-7780.

BIJC Clubs & Organization News


Gift Shop Hours 
Gift shop is closed until further notice due to COVID-19. Our regular hours are M-F from 9:30am-1:30 pm. See Leslee Lauritzen or give Linda Baraz a call at 765-1926 and she will meet you there!

BIJC Community Cookbook
Can't go out shopping? Let Sisterhood send a B'nai Israel Cookbook straight to you! It's a great gift for birthdays, anniversaries, or just because you care. We will mail it to you, gift-wrapped and with a gift card. 

The cost is $26.00, which includes sales tax, shipping and handling. To purchase, please contact Judy Miller by phone (978-660-3080) or email:

Every cookbook sold benefits both the Sisterhood and Gan Israel Preschool.

Sisterhood Book Group
Sisterhood will host a series of Zoom book group gatherings over the next few months. All who are interested in joining any of these sessions are welcome. To receive an invitation to join the zoom link, please email before 5 p.m. the day before the discussion. 

Book Group Schedule:

  • Thursday, June 4, 1 p.m. - The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
  • Thursday, July 2, 1 p.m. - Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
  • Thursday, August 6, 1 p.m. - Camino Winds by John Grisham

Jewish Education

Gan Israel Preschool

The preschool is closed due to COVID-19. For information, contact Program Director  Leslee Lauritzen

Shabbat Connect

Shabbat Connect Completes its First Year
Thank you to Rabbi Ted, Board Member Jamie Bloom, our families, and of course Fanny Stein, our lead teacher, for their rigorous, collaborative work to make the inaugural year of Shabbat Connect into a fun, new, Saturday religious school program.  A special thank you to the BIJC staff, Gan Israel teachers, song leaders and community guest helpers too. We look forward to continuing to refine the mission and hopefully seeing you all in person in the fall! This is a great time for curious newcomers and friends of current families to contact us, learn about the program and let us know what interests you!
Hillary Fox
Programming Director

Learn more.

Adult Education

Adult Ed Zoom Class: Pirke Avot
Wednesdays at 7 p.m.

The book of Pirke Avot, The Sayings of our Sages, is traditionally studied between Passover and Shavuot, this season of the year. It is a collection of aphorisms from the Talmud that conveyed the wisdom of the teachers of Rabbinic Judaism as they balanced their lives with world around them. E-mail Rabbi Ted Feldman at to request the link to join in this study. We will meet on Wednesday, April 22, May 6, 13, 20, & 27 at 7 p.m.

BIJC Fundraising

Your Donations Make a Difference!

If you'd like to donate or volunteer to support BIJC, you can learn about our various opportunities here. Special thanks to our donors this week:


Rita and Joe Kagan - In Memory of Rita's father, George Auerbach
Lucille Libicki - To the Sisterhood
Lucille Libicki - To the Rabbi's Discretionary Fund
Vladimir and Fira Leibovich - In Memory of Vladimir's mother, Ida Leibovich
Leo and Nancy Tealdi - Wishing a speedy recovery to Rod Baraz
Susan Levin - In Honor of B'nai Israel Jewish Center
Erica Stuart - In Memory of her father, Marvin Stuart
Marvin and Shirley Dolowitz - In Memory of Shirley's mother, Esther Katz
Joe and Fran Piotrkowski - In Memory of Joe's mother, Rachel Piotrkowski
Joe and Fran Piotrkowski - Wishing Nancy a Happy Birthday
Joe and Fran Piotrkowski - Wishing Rod Baraz a speedy recovery and a Happy Birthday
Jehoshua Shapiro - In Memory of his father, Moshe Shapiro
Linda and Aaron Newman - In Memory of Aaron's mother, Edna Newman
Jules and Marjorie Cohen - In Memory of Jules's brother, Melvin Cohen
Jules and Marjorie Cohen - in Memory of Jules's sister, Rose Kaplan
BIJC Sisterhood - Annual donation to the Center
Alan Weintraub - In Memory of his father, Gilbert Weintraub
Nancy and Leo Tealdi - Wishing a speedy recovery to Gayle Alvarez
Nancy and Leo Tealdi - In Memory of Nancy's father, Hyman Kaplan
Rhonda Goodman and Martin Hymowitz - In Gratitude, Love and Respect for our Jewish leader, Ted Feldman, and president Stuart Nissenbaum, who are doing an incredible job.
Regina Wilson-Seppa - In Support of BIJC
Randi and Ira Goldstein - Best Wishes to the BIJC Congregation


Be sure to patronize the following businesses in appreciation of their support!

Ace Promotional Specialties, Inc. - Advanced Security Systems - Century 21 Bundesen - Coast Guard and Forest Service - Brian and Marion - EAC-CPA's and Advisors - Bill and Maggie Fishman - Friedman's Home Improvements - Hermann Sons Lodge, Petaluma - Lace House Linens - Love and Golf - O'Brien Painting - Oil Stop - Out West Garage - Parent-Sorensen Mortuary - Petaluma Eye Care - Petaluma Market - Quality Flooring Center, Petaluma - Naomi Richman - San Francisco Public Golf Alliance - Santa Rosa Tile Supply - Spurgeon Painting -  SRJC Supports B'nai Israel - Jim Stern - Top Speed Data Communications

BIJC General Information

Shabbat and Yahrzeit/Yizkor candles are available for purchase in the office. Yahrzeit/Yizkor candles are $2.17 each (with tax). Boxes of 72 Shabbat Candles are $7.58 each (with tax).

BIJC Commemorative Shopping Bags are available for $3 (including tax) in the office. Please stop by during office hours and get your bag!

Lost and Found

There is a LOST and FOUND box in the office. Please note: Items will be donated after a period of one month. If you have lost something or have found an item please contact the office at 707-762-0340.

Newsletter Contributions

Share Your News With the Community!

Do you have news to share (a birth, graduation, award, etc.)? Please e-mail Ruth by noon the Friday before delivery:

We want to hear about what you are doing!

If you would like your event to show up in the newsletter, the deadline for the weekly Wednesday E-News Announcements is the preceding Monday at noon. Please e-mail any additions or corrections to the Ruth at AND COPY Rabbi Feldman at

To subscribe to the mailing list and receive these announcements in your e-mail every Wednesday, click here.

For further information about any of the above items, please call the Center office at (707) 762-0340. Rabbi Ted Feldman may be reached at (707) 765-2937.

Tue, June 2 2020 10 Sivan 5780