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Congregation B'nai Israel


URGENT: June 7, 2016 Read our congregation’s letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu regarding Rudy’s Torah and the Women of the Wall.

TAKE ACTION: Click here to support Women of the Wall. HAARETZ ARTICLE: Read about the confiscation of Rudy’s Torah here.


About our congregation: 

As Sacramento's oldest Jewish congregation and its largest Reform synagogue, B'nai Israel is devoted to honoring the traditions of our heritage while creating a Jewish experience that is relevant to today's society. We nurture spirituality and personal reflection through prayer, music, education and social action. We foster friendship and community with Shabbat dinners, ritual events and affinity groups that reflect our diversity. Congregation B'nai Israel welcomes families and singles, young and old, gay and straight.

BarMitzvahinNewSanctuaryLook at the community section of this web site to learn more about our groups for women, men, youth, young adults, senior citizens, singles and interfaith families. This is also where you can find out how to get involved in our social action efforts or join a Chavurah.

Planning a wedding, bris or other life-cycle event? Looking for information on Holidays or Shabbat services? You'll find answers in the worship section.

Our spiritual leader is Rabbi Mona Alfi. You can learn more about her and other temple leaders in the About section, where you will also find information on B'nai Israel's nearly 160-year history and our newly renovated sanctuary.

The best way to experience B'nai Israel, of course, is in person. Please look at the calendar for details on the spiritual, educational and fun events we host. And then come check us out.

What's new? To see upcoming events, recent announcements, and to read the Koleinu (CBI's monthly newsletter), click here. For the new online Religious School registration form, click here.

Did you know that by making your online purchases from a link on the CBI website, a percentage of your purchase will be rebated back to the congregation? See "Affiliates Program" on the Tzedakah Page. Click here for details.

To make donations electronically click here to go to our donations page.

To make editorial comments on this website please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Template Module Positions

Module Variations allow you to individually style a module Enter any available suffixes at Extensions → Module Manager → Module → Module Class Suffix

There are 19 suffixes: box1-8 and icon1-5; flush, flushtop, flushbottom; plus standardcase, uppercase and lowercase.

Note: You can compound multiple suffixes together such as box1 standardcase flushbottom.

  • Box: 8 variations to change the module background.
  • Icon: 5 variations to add icons to the module title.
  • Standard/Upper/Lower Case: change the case of the module title.
  • Flush/FlushTop/FlushBottom: removes the margin/padding around the module surround.

Content Types & organization


In Joomla!, the bulk of your content will be stored in articles. Articles are simply a way to store and organize the text, images, and other media for the various "pages" on your site. When we say "page" we are generally referring to a certain location on your website that contains both modules and articles.

Categories, Menu Items, Articles & Modules

The type of page a visitor will see, depends on the type of menu link they clicked to arrive there.

We will get into menu links and their settings later on, right now it is important to clarify the difference between an article and a page. To put it simply, the text you are reading now is an article, the little boxes and columns all around it are modules. Articles and modules are the parts that make up a page. When you click a menu item, a link, or type an address, you are navigating to a page.

Every time you create an article, you are given the option to assign it to a category, or leave it uncategorized. You can have an infinite number of sub categories in Joomla! 1.7x, it is much like the folder structure on your computer.

Now, you have probably noticed that this is actually the second article on this page.The type of menu item you clicked to get here was a Category Blog Layout. That tells the system that we want to show all, or some of the articles in a specific category. While all of your content is stored in modules and articles, organized into categories, the menu items are largely responsible for defining what content to display, and how to arrange it. Whether to show a single article, a single category, or a category and all it's sub-categories, for example.

This is how we generated the current "Module Map" page with Joomla! :

  • Created a category called "Layout Examples" (and added a few articles to it);
  • Created a menu item called "Module Positions", pointed at the category "Layout Examples", and configured the parameters (we're getting there...)
  • Assigned some modules to the menu item "Module Positions", one for each available position.

If you can remember that three step procedure, operating Joomla! will be a breeze for you.


Pretty much everything in Joomla! has parameters, or options you can configure. Article parameters are simple, options to display titles, the print/PDF/email icons, and so on. Menu Item parameters tell the system what to show, and how to show it when a menu item is clicked. On this page, the menu item parameters defined what category to pull articles from, how many articles would be shown, whether or not we would show links to articles beyond that number, and how many links we would show. The menu item parameters also allowed us to choose what order the articles would be shown in. The most common options are "Most Recent First" and "Article Manager Order" which allows you to manually control ordering.

First Time Visitors

For First Time Visitors

PJTC welcomes students and other visitors, and we invite you to participate with us in our religious services. We hope this introduction will provide you with the information you need to understand, feel comfortable, and get the most from your visit.


As Jews, we pray directly to God, without an intermediary such as a minister or priest. The Rabbi, meaning "teacher," leads the services, announces which prayers are being said, provides explanations, and tells the congregants which prayers should be said while standing. If the Rabbi is unavailable, a lay member of the congregation will lead the services. The prayer books are written in Hebrew and have English translations for each prayer. Some books also have transliteration, i.e., Hebrew written in Roman letters. Since Hebrew reads from right to left, the books will appear to open from the wrong direction, but the pages are numbered so you will be able to follow the services.


There are three types of services at PJTC each week, and you may attend any of them. While all services contain the same principle elements, there are some differences in the form and specific prayers. The Jewish Sabbath begins at sunset each Friday and concludes at sunset each Saturday. Therefore, the Sabbath services occur on Friday evening and Saturday morning. Visitors are encouraged to participate in the services, including the refreshments and/or meals following them.

Friday evening services begin at 8:00 PM, last 60 to 90 minutes, and are followed by an "Oneg Shabbat," a reception starting with blessings over wine and bread, and continuing with refreshments.

Saturday morning services begin at 9:00 AM and last about 3 hours. The service is followed by the blessings over wine and bread, and refreshments or a buffet lunch in the Social Hall.

Sunday morning minyan is a service held from 9:00 to 10:00 AM. It is an opportunity for people to say the Mourner's Kaddish, the special prayer recited on the anniversary of a loved one's death, in the presence of the Jewish community.


As in religious services of all faiths, there are certain customs and practices we follow. Most of them are required by Jewish law, and we appreciate your also observing them while at the Temple. (While you may be visiting in order to observe and learn, the synagogue is not a museum, and congregants are there to worship. Therefore, it may be offensive or disruptive if you do not respect the following.)

When attending services, please dress modestly (e.g., no mini skirts, short shorts, or sleeve-less blouses or shirts). Boys and men are asked to cover their heads as a sign of respect in the Sanctuary by wearing kippot (also known as yarmulkes or skullcaps). They are available in the foyer. Women may also wish to cover their heads, but it is not required. You'll notice that Jewish men and some women wear a Tallit (prayer shawl) during services where the Torah is being read, but since that serves a religious purpose, non-Jews do not do so.

Observant Jews do not work, conduct business, or create anything during the Sabbath, observing it as a complete day of rest. Therefore, while in the Temple on the Sabbath, please do not write or take notes, use cell phones or other electronic devices, use a camera or take pictures, or smoke (actually, the entire synagogue is tobacco-free at all times).


We understand that you may have an assignment to write a paper on what you observe and experience. Please wait until after you leave the Temple before you write down your observations. While you are at the Temple, feel free to ask the Rabbi, ushers, or congregants any questions about the services or Judaism. (Please remember that there is a wide range of knowledge and understanding about Judaism, and varying degrees of religious observance among Jews. Therefore, you may wish to clarify whether their answers reflect the personal beliefs and practices of the individuals you talk with, or whether they are universally accepted within Judaism.) The web site myjewishlearning.com is especially useful in getting explanations and obtaining information about Judaism.


When you call the office, please let them know you'd like to attend as a group. If possible, we'll arrange for someone to talk with the group after the services, to provide additional information about the Sanctuary and Judaism, and to answer questions.

Reform Judaism

Throughout history, Jews have remained firmly rooted in Jewish tradition, even as we learned much from our encounters with other cultures. Nevertheless, since its earliest days, Reform Judaism has asserted that a Judaism frozen in time is an heirloom, not a living fountain. The great contribution of Reform Judaism is that it has enabled the Jewish people to introduce innovation while preserving tradition, to embrace diversity while asserting commonality, to affirm beliefs without rejecting those who doubt and to bring faith to sacred texts without sacrificing critical scholarship.

Reform Judaism affirms the central tenets of Judaism - God, Torah and Israel - even as it acknowledges the diversity of Reform Jewish beliefs and practices. We believe that all human beings are created in the image of God, and that we are God's partners in improving the world. Tikkun olam — repairing the world — is a hallmark of Reform Judaism as we strive to bring peace, freedom and justice to all people.

Reform Jews accept the Torah as the foundation of Jewish life containing God's ongoing revelation to our people and the record of our people's ongoing relationship with God. We see the Torah as God inspired, a living document that enables us to confront the timeless and timely challenges of our everyday lives.

In addition to our belief that Judaism must change and adapt to the needs of the day to survive and our firm commitment to Tikkun Olam, the following principles distinguish Reform Jews from other streams of Judaism in North America.

Reform Jews are committed to the principle of inclusion, not exclusion. Since 1978 the Reform Movement has been reaching out to Jews-by-choice and interfaith families, encouraging them to embrace Judaism. Reform Jews consider children to be Jewish if they are the child of a Jewish father or mother, so long as the child is raised as a Jew.

Reform Jews are committed to the absolute equality of women in all areas of Jewish life. We were the first movement to ordain women rabbis, invest women cantors and elect women presidents of our synagogues.

Reform Jews are also committed to the full participation of gays and lesbians in synagogue life as well as society at large.

Calendar Highlights

Jan 23, 2018 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Israeli Dancing
Jan 26, 2018 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Shabbat Evening Service
Jan 27, 2018 9:00 am - 10:30 am
Torah Study
Jan 27, 2018 10:30 am - 12:30 pm
Shabbat Morning Services