Welcome to Temple Israel
Who We Are
Temple Israel was founded in 1850 as Congregation Rhyim Ahoovim (Beloved Friends). Temple Israel is affiliated with the Union for Reform Judaism. We pride ourselves on being a warm and welcoming community with a diverse population. Our membership includes Jews-by-birth and Jews-by-choice. Non-Jewish spouses and children are welcome to be an active part of our community as we join together to continue our rich heritage rooted in Torah.
Rabbi Jason Gwasdoff, his wife Lindy Passer and three sons moved to Stockton to become the spiritual leader of our community in 1993. His energetic and engaging style has led to many innovations in our worship services, life cycle celebrations, and programs of all kinds. Worship services are held on Friday nights and are open to the community. During the school year, special Family Services are held once a month and participation in the service is encouraged for children of all ages.
Judaism places great value on education. Karma Fordis Lindner directs our educational programs and serves as the temple administrator. Temple Israel has a Religious School for students in grades Pre K – 12 and Hebrew School for students in grades 4 – 7. Students who wish to become Bar or Bat Mitzvah attend both Religious and Hebrew Schools in order to prepare for this important milestone in Jewish life. Temple youth in grades 9-12 also participate in our youth group, giving them the opportunity to socialize and deepen their friendships with other Jewish youth. There are a wide variety of Adult Education classes including: Introduction to Judaism, Hebrew, Torah Study, Text Study, and Dance. Adult Education classes are open to non-members; however, children’s programs are limited to children of member families.
Music is an integral part of Jewish worship. Lindy Passer serves as our Cantorial Soloist and director of our Adult Choir (Kolot), Teen Choir (Shirat Noar), and Junior Choir. Lindy also directs the annual Purim Shpiel that involves a large portion of our talented congregation.
Temple Israel provides a range of activities for its membership and the Stockton community. We host a number of speakers throughout the year. We hold meetings with local politicians and organizations active in Jewish life and the state of Israel. Talented Jewish musicians travel to Stockton and perform at Temple Israel where they are warmly welcomed.
The Stockton Fall Gala, held on the 1st Saturday in November, brings the extended Stockton community together for an evening of fine food and entertainment. The evening also includes a silent auction featuring vacation packages, jewelry, art, and more. Each year, the gala has a different theme. In 2014, join us for Guys & Dolls – a Big Band Swing Thing.
The Temple Israel Food Fair, held on the 1st Sunday in June, is an annual event that attracts hundreds of visitors from Stockton and beyond. The entire membership of Temple Israel joins together to prepare traditional Jewish foods and work at the Food Fair.
Kol Yisrael, The Voice of Temple Israel, is a monthly newsletter published by Temple staff and volunteers and mailed to all Temple members. Temple members are welcome to submit items for inclusion in the newsletter. Kol Israel is a treasure trove of information about our community. To join our email listing, contact firstname.lastname@example.org