Pearl Rothman still remembers the stories her father would tell her about the “Sons & Daughters of Israel,” a small community of Solano County Jews organized in 1910.
Services and meetings were conducted in rented halls and private homes until the group moved to a two-story home in 1920, the first and only formal synagogue in Vallejo.
The congregation continued to grow, and purchased its current site on Nebraska Street. On April 11, 1948, the building was officially named Congregation B’nai Israel and the first rabbi, Sol Horowitz, was hired. He would go on to serve the congregation for 30 years.
A celebration commemorating the 60th anniversary of the dedication will take place during an open house at B’nai Israel from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 16.
“It’s a wonderful place to be together, pray together and raise our children together,” said Rothman, whose wedding was the first to be held in the new synagogue in 1948. “It’s a beautiful synagogue, and we’re very proud of it. It’s my second home.”
Current and former congregants are encouraged to come celebrate and bring pictures or announcements of past weddings, bar or bat mitzvahs or any event held at the synagogue.
The anniversary party is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served, and guests will be treated to Israeli folk-dancing lessons. There will be historical presentations using the synagogue’s archives, and a souvenir book will be available at the end of the day.
The anniversary celebration “provides a unique opportunity to appreciate what we have to cherish and value in belonging to this special community,” Rabbi David White said in a statement. “It stems from our thousands of years of being custodians of a tradition and value system that teach healthy community is built on ‘we,’ not ‘I.'”
Congregation B’nai Israel is located at 1256 Nebraska St., Vallejo. For more information, call (707) 642-6526.