Petaluma's Inclusive Center for Jewish Life

Classes & Workshops

Can We Talk?

Rabbi Ted Feldman and invited guest lecturers will discuss the myriad issues and decisions when facing end-of-life questions. This five-session class begins at B’nai Israel on Tuesday, February 12, at 7 pm, repeating weekly until Tuesday, March 12.

The class is free. Early registration is recommended. Click here to register.

"Can We Talk?" Class sessions:

  1. February 12: Jewish Teachings on the End of Life - led by Rabbi Feldman
  2. February 19: Emotional and Spiritual Challenges - led by Alissa Hershfeld-Flores, MTF
  3. February 26: Estate Planning, Advance Directives & more - led by William Fishman, Esq.
  4. March 5: Jewish Burial Practices - led by Nancy Dotti, Sonoma County Chevra Kadisha (Jewish Burial Society) and Representatives from Parent Sorensen Mortuary
  5. March 12: Caretaking and Conversation - led by Rabbi Feldman

Rabbi Ted Feldman (Feb. 12 and Mar. 12)
Ted Feldman joined B’nai Israel Jewish Center as rabbi in 2005. He brings to our community a broad range of knowledge and experience, including executive director of Jewish Family and Children’s Services of the East Bay, executive director of the Jewish Federation of the Sacramento Region, and campaign director of the South Palm Beach County Jewish Federation in Boca Raton, Florida. In addition to his work in fundraising, Ted was also director of the Jewish Community Relations Council, director of planning, and responsible for the federation’s Jewish education efforts in South Palm Beach County. Rabbi Feldman served two synagogues during his extensive career in Columbus, GA (8 years) and Boca Raton, FL (6 years).

Alissa Hirshfeld-Flores, MFT (Feb. 19)
Alissa Hirshfeld-Flores is a licensed marriage and family therapist and spiritual director/counselor, practicing in Santa Rosa. She specializes in grief, loss and trauma. She leads spiritual direction groups and teaches on issues of Jewish spirituality at synagogues in Santa Rosa, Cotati and Petaluma. Her memoir, This Whole Wide World is Just a Narrow Bridge (Infinity, 2011), charts her emotional and spiritual experience as a hospice bereavement director, concurrent with the loss of her mother, birth of her daughter and a near death experience.

William Fishman, Esq. (Feb. 26)
Attorney Bill Fishman has his roots in the Petaluma community, having grown up in the area and having founded his practice here in 1984. His practice emphasizes estate planning, trust and estate administration, probate, business transactions, contested estates and trusts, and alternative dispute resolution. Admitted to the practice of law in 1984, Bill concentrates on personal representation of a diverse client base that spans the Northern San Francisco Bay Area, Telecom Valley, and the Wine Country.

Nancy Dotti, Chevra Kadisha of Sonoma County, and Representatives from Parent Sorensen Mortuary (Mar. 5)
A chevra kadisha is an organization of Jewish men and women who see to it that the bodies of the deceased are prepared for burial according to Jewish tradition and are protected from desecration, willful or not, until burial. The Community-based Sonoma County Chevra Kadisha is available to all Sonoma County Jews, regardless of affiliation or level of Jewish observance.

An Introduction to Judaism

14 Classes, 10 Rabbis, Infinite Points of View

Rabbi Ted will lead two sessions of An Introduction to Judaism, an exciting new class beginning on January 9. Offered by The Jewish Community Center Sonoma County, the sessions run on Wednesdays from January 9 to April 17 at Congregation Ner Shalom, 85 La Plaza, Cotati. 

This class will appeal to those who want to learn about the basics of Judaism as well as those who would like to expand on what they already know. People of all backgrounds and experiences are welcome. 

Register here!

Course instructors represent each of the Jewish congregations of Sonoma County. They include:

  • Rabbi Ted Feldman: B’nai Israel Jewish Center
  • Rabbi Mendel Wolvovsky: Chabad Jewish Center
  • Rabbi Mordecai Miller: Congregation Beth Ami
  • Reb Irwin Keller: Congregation Ner Shalom
  • Rabbi George Gittleman: Congregation Shomrei Torah
  • Rabbi Stephanie Kramer: Congregation Shomrei Torah
  • Rabbi Steve Finley: Congregation Shir Shalom
  • Rabbi Meredith Cahn, The Mussar Institute
  • Rabbi Zelig Golden: Wilderness Torah
  • Rabbi Dovid Bush: Chabad Jewish Center of Petaluma

This class is open to everyone regardless of previous knowledge or religious background. Just bring an open mind! 

Class schedule

Wednesday Evenings, 7:00–8:30 pm

  • Jan. 9: The Beginning of Wisdom Introductory Class, All Rabbis
  • Jan. 16 & 23: What is Judaism? & What Does it Mean to be a Jew? Rabbi Feldman
  • Jan. 30: Hatch, Match, Dispatch: Exploring Jewish Lifecycle Traditions, Rabbi Wolvovsky
  • Feb. 6: The Emergence of Modern Israel, Rabbi Finley
  • Feb. 13 & 20: People of the Book & The Art of Jewish Prayer, Rabbi Miller
  • Feb. 27: Jewish Life Cycles, Nature’s Cycles: Rediscovering the Hebrew Calendar, Rabbi Golden
  • Mar. 6: A Millennium in the Life of the Jews, Reb Keller
  • Mar. 13: Mikveh to Mourning: The Sacred Way of Marking Time, Rabbi Kramer
  • Mar. 28*: Mussar: The Art of Being a Mensch, Rabbi Cahn - Class on Thursday
  • Apr. 3: DNA of the Soul, Rabbi Bush
  • Apr. 10: “God” – a Jewish Exploration, Rabbi Gittleman
  • Apr. 17: Journey of Liberation Course Closure, All Rabbis

*Mar. 28 class is a Thursday

Click here for detailed class descriptions.

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 Rabbi Feldman conducts a learning session after services. Beginning this Shabbat, he will be teaching from sections of a work called Ein Yaakov. This text, a compilation of the spiritual and inspirational teachings from the Talmud, was a the subject of Sunday morning for many Sundays at BIJC. This study opportunity will allow these teachings to enhance our Shabbat experience in our community.

The class begins on October 27 at 12:30 p.m. Check our calendar or weekly announcements for upcoming Lunch & Learn sessions.

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