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.

Tell Me More


Upcoming Events at CBI

Mark your calendars for these upcoming events at CBI:

Friday, September 15, 7:30pm: Kabbalat Shabbat Service

Rabbi Sara will be giving a teaching entitled: Standing in the Past, Present, and Future. Oneg sponsored by Rhonda Z in honor of her sons' birthdays.

Saturday, September 16, 10:00am: Getting Ready for the High Holy Days

Join us as Rabbi Sara helps us to prepare for the High Holy Days.

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.

Wednesday, September 20, 7:30pm: Erev Rosh Hashanah

Dessert Oneg provided by the CBI Board.

Thursday, September 21, 10:00am: Rosh Hashanah Day 1

  • 11:00am: Children's service (concurrent with main service)
  • Kiddush lunch following services provided by Haverot/Sisterhood
Thursday, September 21, 5:00pm: Evening Tashlich & Vegetarian Potluck Picnic

At One Mile, Lower Bidwell Park.

Friday, September 22, 10:00am: Rosh Hashanah Day 2

Kiddush lunch following services provided by the families of our Co-Presidents, the Halimi family and the Zeichick family.

Saturday, September 23, 10:00am: Shabbat Shuvah Torah Study in the Backyard

Text and Torah Study.

Yizkor Service

The memory of our loved ones is best honored by tzedakah, a righteous deed. Your contribution to CBI will help support our religious and educational programs. The names of your loved ones will be included in the Yom Kippur Memorial Booklet and read from the bima during our Yizkor service. Please submit this form along with your check by Friday, September 22, to be included in the booklet. Please indicate on your payment "2017 Matching Fund Campaign" to maximize the value of your contribution.

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.

High Holy Days 5778 at CBI

Please join us for the Days of Awe / High Holy Days 5778 at Congregation Beth Israel, 1336 Hemlock Street, (530) 342-6146. Our services are warm, welcoming, inspiring, and participatory. Our services will be led by Rabbi Sara Abrams. Sing along to lively music by our great CBI band, and enjoy the contributions of many soloists, leaders, readers, and “team tekiah,” our shofar blowers. We also have children’s services led by Ruth Gordon. Click here to read past High Holy Day sermons.

Tickets are required for the High Holy Days services. For more information, including a schedule, please click this link or contact CBI at (530) 342-6146.

Donating to CBI / Matching Fund Campaign 2017

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

CBI is launching a Fall fundraising drive just like the Annie B’s program we successfully participated in for so many years. Annie B’s no longer exist but we have a donor who cares about our congregation and wants to make sure the campaign continues. This anonymous donor has offered us a precious gift, a 10% match for all donations made to CBI, by anyone, now through October 15th, 2017. Whatever you donate, over and above a membership pledge, will be matched. This is an opportunity to give, to help CBI, and have your donation go farther.

For more information, including how to donate and the funds included in the program, click 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

"Cycles of Time and the Shul Soundscape"

CBI Student Cantor Steve Margolin’s brief essay about the music and sounds of the shul explores how they vary during different events and times during the week and throughout the year, especially during the High Holy Days.

To read the full essay click here.

"What’s All This About Korbanot?"

CBI Student Cantor Steve Margolin’s 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.

A Message from Rabbi Sara

September 13, 2017
Dear Friends,

As we approach the end of the month of Elul, the month of introspection and reflection before the High Holy Days, we have the opportunity  to practice what poet John O'Donohue calls "inner harvesting."  Elul invites us to take stock of our lives "to sift through the fruits of our experience . . . Areas of inner neglect and abandonment cry out to you.  They are urgent for harvest."  What area of your heart would you like to mine this year?  What inner misunderstanding would you like to cleanse and forgive?  What is a longstanding pattern --in thought or deed--that you would like to give up and replace with a new harvest, a bounty, and the abundant and resplendent presence of your soul? The cycle of the year instruct us that it is never too late to return to that sacred presence in all of us.  "Return to Me," says the prophet Jeremiah, "that I may return to you."

In the spirit of return and hope, may we take in the wisdom of Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis:

The last word has not been spoken,
the last sentence has not been written,
the final verdict is not in.
It is never too late
to change my mind,
my direction,
to say no to the past
and yes to the future,
to offer remorse,
to ask and give forgiveness.
It is never too late
to start over again,
to feel again
to love again
to hope again . . .

Let us hope and look to the future, to grow in love and feeling together, to say yes to life's offering and unite as community to build the Eden so needed now here on earth.

Many blessings,
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 II

CBI presents Intro to Judaism II with Rabbi Sara on Tuesday evenings this fall. The eight session class is being held at CBI. Each session is from 7:00 - 8:15pm, with the first session on October 10.

The cost of the class is: $80 for members, $100 for non-members. (Financial aid available.)

Schedule (topics to be announced):

October 10
October 17
October 24
November 7
November 14
November 28
December 5
December 12

Click here for more info about the class.

To register or for more information, contact CBI at or 530-342-6146.

Copyright © 2017 Congregation Beth Israel, Chico. All rights reserved.