In the summer of 2022, CBI conducted a survey of its membership and the larger Jewish community in Chico and the surrounding area. The survey revealed that, although interest in formal religious services has declined, desire for community, spiritual fulfillment, and connection to Jewish heritage has not gone away, and the deprivations of COVID have made many people realize how important these things are. The results of the survey are influencing our plans for the future; expect to see more non-religious cultural and intellectual programming.
Congregation Beth Israel’s building has seen a variety of improvements in 2022, including a new play structure for young children in the backyard, an overhaul of the offices of our spiritual leader and administrative assistant, and extensive trimming of overgrown vegetation.
CBI's Shul School welcomed a new Director, Nathan Sutton, for the 2022-23 term, and also welcomed back Skye Gavin as a teacher, who returned after an absence of a few years as a teacher in our school. Meadow Davis is the other Shul School teacher, returning for her second year in this position.
CBI held in-person services for the High Holidays in September-October 2022, for the first time since the start of the COVID pandemic. Because of the climate of rising hate and intolerance, services took place under heightened security, in order to protect our congregants and enable them to observe the holidays with peace of mind. A team of CBI volunteers, led by Dr. Steve Zlotowski, organized the security procedures and secured a commitment from the Chico Police Department to provide on-duty officers as a visible armed presence at the services. The support from Chico PD was amazing.
After the High Holidays, CBI's Board of Directors decided to update our COVID protocols to make masks and vaccinations optional at all CBI in-person events, and to continue to require that people refrain from attending our events when they are sick.
In November 2022, CBI's sign on our front lawn was vandalized and defaced with Nazi graffiti. While this incident certainly rattled our congregation, we have been overwhelmed with support that has poured in from many quarters within and outside of the Jewish community. We will be making expensive security upgrades which are unfortunately necessary in the current climate, but we are also feeling the warm embrace of the good citizens of Chico and its environs. Once again, the Chico Police Department has been very supportive.