We are a warm and friendly Jewish community in Chico, California

Congregation Beth Israel is an open and welcoming Jewish community dedicated to the principle of Klal Yisrael, the unity of the Jewish people. True to that spirit, our historically rooted congregation embraces a diverse membership of Jews from all backgrounds as well as interfaith couples and those exploring Judaism. The ideal to which we strive is Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan’s concept of the “synagogue center,” in which a congregation serves as both a house of worship and a community center for Jewish life. We seek to engage the “head, heart, and hand”: the head through learning, the heart through meaningful spiritual and cultural experiences, and the hand through service. CBI is a place to find community, raise kids to love Judaism, and call your spiritual home. With inspirational and innovative leadership from Rabbi Sara Abrams, we are shaping a dynamic and vital future for Judaism in the Northstate.

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Upcoming Events at CBI

Mark your calendars for these upcoming events at CBI:

Friday, August 18, 7:30pm: Kabbalat Shabbat Service

Please join us this evening for Shabbat service. Oneg to follow service, sponsored by Bonnie and Marv Megibow.

Saturday, August 19, 10:00am: Contemplative Service

Come experience the abundance of Shabbat through quiet meditation, heart felt chants, and experiential prayer. All are welcome!

Saturday, August 19, 11:00am: Torah Study

Join us as Rabbi Sara leads us in an insightful study. Kiddush to follow service, sponsored by Helene Ginsberg and Andrew Sabersky.

Saturday, August 19, 10:00am - 4:00pm: CBI at the Stonewall Chico Pride Festival

CBI is participating, along with many other local community and faith based groups, in the Stonewall Chico Pride Weekend. We will have a booth in the Downtown City Plaza from 10:00am - 4:00pm. Rabbi Sara will be going over to the Plaza after services and invites everyone to join her there at 1:00 pm.

Friday, August 25, 7:30pm: Welcome Back Shul School Shabbat Service

Join us in welcoming back our Shul school students and hear reflections on camp from our Gert Lenner scholarship recipients.

  • 5:30pm: Vegetarian Potluck Dinner
  • 6:15pm: Service
  • Ice Cream Social to follow service
Saturday, August 26, 10:00am: Torah Service

Thursday, August 31, 6:00-9:00pm: Thursday Night Market

Join CBI at the Thursday Night Market in Downtown Chico.

Friday, September 1, 7:30pm: Kabbalat Shabbat Service

Saturday, September 2, 10:00am: Torah Study

Friday, September 8, 7:30pm: Kabbalat Shabbat Service

Wednesday, September 20, 11:00am: Brunch Bunch

The Brunch Bunch meets at Nash's on the Esplanade for good food, good conversation, and great company. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Annual CBI Membership Drive

It is time for the annual CBI membership drive. Current members and those who have previously expressed interest should be receiving their membership packets in the mail. If you have not received your packet, contact CBI at (530) 342-6146, or via email at

To learn more about membership at CBI, visit our Join/Contribute page. This page includes information about joining CBI, benefits of membership, celebrations at CBI, and how to donate to the synagogue. Also available is a copy of the application form.

Rabbi Sara on the Air

On Wednesday, August 3, 2016, Rabbi Sara Abrams and David Halimi were interviewed on Action News Now, local Chico channels 12 and 24. The video segment has since been archived by the station, but may be restored, at which time the link will also be restored.

On Friday, December 16, 2016, Rabbi Sara was on KZFR 90.1FM, discussing finding peace in our troubled times. You can listen to it here.

On Friday, April 21, 2017, Rabbi Sara was on KZFR 90.1FM, on their reoccurring program: The Peace and Social Justice Program. You can listen to it here.

On Friday, June 16, 2017, Rabbi Sara was on KZFR 90.1 FM, on their reoccurring program: The Peace and Social Justice Program. Rabbi Sara co-hosted a discussion about Women in the Ministry. You can listen to it here.

Rabbi Sara in the News

Rabbi Sara was featured in the March 2, 2017 issue of the Chico News and Review: ‘A good place’ Chico’s Congregation Beth Israel officially welcomes its new rabbi by Evan Tuchinsky.

Last summer, while seeking to succeed Rabbi Julie Hilton Danan as the religious leader of Congregation Beth Israel, Rabbi Sara Abrams started seeing signs that Chico would be in her future...

Click here to read the entire article.

Rabbi Sara was featured in the March 2017 issue of the Voice: New Chico Rabbi Officially Installed.

Rabbi Sara Abrams was welcomed as the new spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Israel in Chico on August 1, 2016. On February 24, 2017, she was officially installed with a celebratory weekend of programming. the VOICE talked with Rabbi Abrams about goals, yoga, and what she enjoys about leading a small Jewish congregation in Northern California...

Click here to open the March 2017 issue of the Voice. The entire article can be found on page 18.

From Our Student Cantor

"What’s All This About Korbanot?"

CBI Student Cantor Steve Margolin’s brief essay about the korbanot, the sacrifices offered in the Tabernacle and in the Temple in Jerusalem, explores the essence of the korbanot then and ties that to the prayers and synagogue services that are our way to make an offering and experience the Divine in our lives.

To read the full essay click here.

Donating to CBI

Donating to CBI helps with the many programs and benefits that CBI offers. To learn more about donating, Join/Contribute page.

Donations also can be made through no cost fundraisers available at Amazon and FoodMaxx/SaveMart. will contribute .5% of your purchase amount to CBI every time you buy from them.  While it’s a small percentage, it can add up!  Use the web address/link to register Congregation Beth Israel Chico as your charity, then use that same link every time you log on to Amazon to make your purchases. It’s easy, free, and no cost to you, and it will help CBI.

In addition, CBI is participating in the FoodMaxx and SaveMart profit distribution program. If you shop at either of these grocery stores, a small portion of what you spend will be sent to CBI. If you haven't already, it is easy to sign up by clicking one or both of these links: FoodMaxx or SaveMart. At the store, during checkout, enter your phone number and a portion of your purchase will automatically be donated to CBI -- at no cost to you, and much benefit to us.

A Message from Rabbi Sara

August 16, 2017
Dear Friends,

It has been a trying week in our country. Last week during Kabbalat Shabbat I spoke of the danger of worshiping the world of appearances, the danger of judging others on the basis of their outsides--social status, gender, socio-economic background, sexual orientation, race, nationality or religion--and I suggested that discrimination on the basis of these qualities is the modern version of the idolatry that the Torah proscribed:

All the vessels in the universe--it turns out, even the ugliest are shaped with care by the Creator.

What we honor in them, what we worship in them, is not their outside-but the light of the divine spark that shines from within.

The Rabbi Moses teaches this by repeatedly warning us to steer clear of graven images "You shall consign the images of their gods to the fire: you shall not covet the silver and gold on them and keep it for yourselves, lest you be ensnared thereby;  ... you must not bring an abhorrent thing into your house ..."

Today, we are not bringing sculptured idolatrous images into our houses--but we are often bringing idolatrous ideas--that is ideas that refuse to recognize that the Divine, the energy, the life force is holy and present  in ALL beings equally, and essentially and existentially--- regardless of their status.

Nowhere were these idolatrous ideas more present than in the racist ideology and violence expressed in Charlottesville over the weekend and the murder of Heather Heyer, a young woman who had come to Charlottesville to stand up for the values of equality and diversity. Charlottesville has demonstrated to us that hateful and discriminatory ideology are alive and well in the United States. Watching American citizens march with torches and yell "You will not replace us. Jew will not replace us," and "Blood and Soil" all having their roots in the Nazism that arose nearly 100 years ago and devastated our people and the world--is heartbreaking. To see this language and violence re-emerge 70 years after the Allied victory in Europe is enough to wake us all up to the real threat that hatred, prejudice, and ignorance pose to all of God's creations.

In the coming weeks let us keep our eyes open and see, "Re'eh" as this week's Torah portion asks us: see the world as it is, see the world as it can be, and begin to see new ways to unite in love for all humankind and oppose the darkness now unmasked in our country.

With blessing,
Rabbi Sara

CBI Newsletter

CBI Newsletter

The CBI Newsletter is included in one "Weekly Update" email each month (usually the first Wednesday of each month). During the rest of the month, continue to read the "Weekly Update" emails for the latest information. Previous versions of the newsletter and a link to the recently retired newsletter site are available on the Newsletter archive page. In addition, news is available on the old CBI News column CBI News page.

To submit articles and suggestions for future newsletters, or to be added to our email list, please send email to .

Intro to Judaism I

Thanks to all participants for a successful Intro to Judaism I with Rabbi Sara.

Watch for our Intro to Judaism II class coming this fall!

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