Petaluma's Inclusive Center for Jewish Life

Adult Learning Opportunities

B'nai Israel offers a wide range of learning opportunites through organized classes, special events, residencies, workshops and more. 

Upcoming Education Special Events

Spirit, Gender and the Quest for Authentic Living

A 3-day residency with author, scholar and activist Yiscah Smith

sponsored by Congregation Ner Shalom, Congregation Beth Ami, and B'nai Israel Jewish Center

Yiscah Smith is a Jerusalem-based Jewish educator, spiritual activist and author. As someone who transitioned from a Chabad man to an observant woman, she is in constant dialogue with the question of authentic living and its spiritual dimension. Yiscah teaches at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies and at the Conservative Yeshiva, both in Jerusalem. She produces podcasts on Jewish  spirituality, and offers individual spiritual guidance for authentic living.

Forty Years in the Wilderness: My Journey to Authentic Living

Congregation Ner Shalom, 85 La Plaza in Cotati
Wednesday, June 13: 7:00-8:30 PM

Yiscah will share the joys and struggles of facing her own spirituality, gender identity, and commitment to living true to herself. The story she tells is one of a man, facing his truth, embracing the woman she was always meant to be, and returning to her faith with wholeness and authenticity. Free, contributions welcome.

Jewish Living as the Cultivation of a Spiritual Practice

Congregation Beth Ami, 4676 Mayette in Santa Rosa
Thursday, June 14: 7:00-8:30 PM

Yiscah will teach the inspiring and progressive ideas of Rabbi Kalonymous Kalman Shapira, the Piaseczna Rebbe (d. 1943). She will discuss our inherent spiritual nature, how we awaken to the Divine within us, and how we can integrate this awareness into a fuller mind, body and soul  experience in our lives. Free, contributions welcome.

Lech Lecha—Go to Yourself: Moving from One Self to Another Self

B'nai Israel Jewish Center, 640 Western in Petaluma
Friday, June 15: 1:30-3:00 PM; followed by yoga 3:00-4:30 PM

Yiscah will share a teaching on encountering the Divine presence within and heeding her "still small voice."  This session on moving away from a finite sense of self toward a sense of self that is limitless and beyond ego will be followed by a yoga session continuing these themes, led by Helaine Sheias. Sliding scale.

Recurring Study Opportunities

Shabbat Lunch & Learn

Twice monthly, 12:30-2 p.m.
Many people find a deep satisfaction and joy in the quest for knowledge and the experience of engaged learning. Shabbat is a rich time to relax, share food, and come together in community to study Jewish wisdom.

Twice a month following Shabbat services, we take time to study Jewish attitudes about our bodies and ourselves using a book entitled, "Jewish Choices, Jewish Voices." You are invited to participate as a part of your course to celebrate an adult B'nai Mitzvah, or purely for the joy of learning. Either way, you are welcome in this class.

The book is available for $16, and can be purchased at the BIJC office or on the first day. Check the Calendar for the next Lunch & Learn.

Individual Study and Direction

Rabbi Feldman is available to set up individual courses of study, including for those interested in exploring basic Judaism.

You may reach Rabbi Feldman at 707-765-2937 or