Welcome to Temple Israel
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.
Scroll down to meet our Leadership Team and learn more about us!
Rabbi Jason M. Gwasdoff
Rabbi Jason Gwasdoff’s rabbinic career is inspired by his love for Jewish music, Jewish camping and youth work, and a passion for social justice and the State of Israel. As a teen, he served as president of his NFTY youth region in Southern California and became a song leader and Unit Head at UAHC Camp Swig. He spent a gap year in Israel at the Institute for Jewish Youth Leaders from Abroad before attending UC Berkeley where, as a college outreach organizer for the Reform Movement, he was a founding member of the Berkeley Bayit.
Since coming to Stockton in 1993, his energetic and engaging leadership has led to many innovations in our worship services, life cycle celebrations, and programs of all kinds. He has distinguished himself in the larger community, as a leader in interfaith relations, a long-time member of the Medical Ethics Committee at St Joseph Medical Center, and board member at St. Mary’s Dining Room. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 2012. Rabbi Gwasdoff shares the pulpit with his wife, our cantorial soloist, Lindy Passer. Rabbi and Lindy have three sons, Seth, Ari, and Jory
Our Judaica Shop is here to meet all your Jewish shopping needs. We carry ritual items, jewelry, decorations, cards, books, and more!
Judaica Shop Hours:
Sunday 9am-1pm *
Wednesday 4pm-6pm *
Or by appointment.
*Whenever the Learning Lab is in session
Temple Israel Cemeteries
Temple Israel maintains two cemeteries, the Temple Israel Cemetery located in Stockton and the Adas Yeshurun Cemetery located in French Camp.
Before visiting either cemetery, be sure to stop by the office to pick up a key for the locked gates.
If you are attempting to locate a loved one's grave, contact the Temple office.
In 1850, Captain Charles Weber donated a parcel of land on the north bank of the Stockton Channel, near Miner and Hunter Streets, to Ryhim Ahoovim (Beloved Friends), a Jewish Benevolent Society later to become our congregation.
In 1855, Congregation Ryhim Ahoovim dedicated its first synagogue in Stockton. Our congregation has the distinction of being one of the three oldest congregations in California.
In 1861, the 1855 building was moved to Hunter Street, between Fremont and Lindsey, due to flooding at the old site.
In 1905, a new building was constructed on Hunter Street to house our growing congregation. The original building was maintained for the Religious School.
In 1930, the building constructed in 1905 was moved to Madison Street, near Willow. A new facade was added to the newly moved building. The Jewish Community Center was built immediately to the north of the synagogue. The building still stands, though it is no longer owned by the congregation.
In 1960, our congregation moved to its present location at March Lane and El Dorado Street. In the year 2000, we completed an extensive renovation that expanded our library and Judaica shop, updated our sanctuary, and added a historical gallery. In 2012, our classrooms were completely renovated and updated as well.
Click to Hear Oral History Interviews (Audio)
With members of Stockton’s Jewish Community who were in Europe during World War II.
Interviewer: Melvin Corren.
Engineer: Steven M. Schermerhorn
Interviewees: Irv Corren, Harry Gluskin, Lucy Hoffman, Ursula Meyer, Faye Stein,
Kathe Underwood, and others.