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Congregation B'nai Israel

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Congregation B'nai Israel


Basic Information

Location 3600 Riverside Blvd, Sacramento, California
Phone number (916) 446-4861
Country United States
City Sacramento, CA

General Information

Open to visitors yes
Need appointment no
Handicap accessibility no
Website www.bnais.com/‎
Geographical Coordinates 38.5472,-121.50843


Congregation B'nai Israel is the oldest Jewish congregation in Sacramento, California. The congregation, which began as an Orthodox community, traces its history back to the gold rush of 1849, when Jewish settlers gathered to observe the high holy days. The congregation purchased its first building at 7th and L streets on September 2, 1852, making it the first congregation-owned synagogue west of the Mississippi River.

History and time period

The congregation has survived the destruction caused by fires and floods throughout its history. In November 1852, fire destroyed its original location at 7th and L streets, and it met in congregants' homes until 1858. A Methodist congregation had constructed a building on their former lot during this time, and in 1858 B'nai Israel purchased this new building. Three years later, it too was destroyed by fire. In 1864, the congregation purchased a former Presbyterian concert hall on 6th street for use as their synagogue. In 1904, the congregation moved to 1421 Fifteenth Street, which also caught fire in 1912, and reopened after a year of renovations. This location was home to B'nai Israel until 1954, when the congregation moved to its current location at 3600 Riverside Boulevard. Through the next few decades, the campus expanded to include the Harry M. Tonkin Memorial Chapel, the Sosnick Library, and the Buddy Kandel education wing.

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