Mission of Congregation Shomrei Torah
- To worship God in accordance with the beliefs and teachings of Reform Judaism.
- To cultivate and nurture in ourselves and our children a love and understanding of Jewish heritage.
- To develop a sensitive, caring and supportive congregational community where all are welcome and included.
- To act with responsibility and compassion in our community.
- To support the principles of equality, freedom and shalom among all peoples.
History of Congregation Shomrei Torah
Shomrei Torah was founded in 1974 by a group of eleven Sonoma County families. The name they chose for their new congregation translates as “Keepers of Torah” in honor of our Holocaust Torah, which was rescued from Strakonitz, Czechoslovakia, and is on permanent loan from a foundation in Westminster, England.
In 1989, the congregation engaged Rabbi Michael Robinson as its first permanent, albeit part-time, rabbi. With his focus on social justice and good works in the the community, Rabbi Michael extended his reputation as a social activist, tirelessly advocating on behalf of Sonoma County’s homeless population and in favor of gun control, among other pressing issues. During his tenure, Rabbi Michael built bridges between Shomrei Torah and other faith groups in the area and guided the congregation as it more than doubled in size.
In 1996, Shomrei Torah engaged our first full-time rabbi, George Gittleman. Rabbi George’s extraordinary energy, spiritual passion and intellectual fervor have led us to start and strengthen many programs, expand our presence in the local faith community, and build Shomrei Torah’s presence as a leading regional religious institution.
In 1998, we opened our own Religious School to share and pass on our heritage and Reform traditions to the next generation. Since our Religious School opened, we have enjoyed significant growth and currently have 140 students enrolled. We also offer a Tot and Early Childhood program for the youngest members of our congregation family. In 2001, we launched Chaverim, our youth group, to serve the needs of our teens as well as young people from throughout the larger Jewish community.
We are fortunate to have the remarkable musical leadership and talent of our Liturgical Soloist, Leira Satlof, who directs our 30-member choir, as well as our house band. Our fondness for music-filled worship is precious to us. We are often referred to as the “musical synagogue” of Sonoma County.
After sharing space for many years with Christ Church United Methodist, in 2004 we began construction of our current home on a 6 1/2-acre site overlooking Santa Rosa. Our new synagogue opened on April 29, 2007.
In July 2011, Rabbi Stephanie Kramer joined Shomrei Torah in the newly created position of Assistant Rabbi/Education Director. Rabbi Stephanie oversees all aspects of congregational education, including STaRS, the B’nei Mitzvah program, Tot Shabbat, youth activities (including helping with Chaverim) and Lifelong Learning.
Today, the 435 member households of Shomrei Torah comprise the largest Jewish congregation in Sonoma County, and the fastest-growing congregation in the North Bay. We have an active Women to Women program, Men’s Bagel Club, Social Action Committee, LifeLong Learning Programs and many active Chavurah groups. We take pride in welcoming new members and visitors from ALL styles of families, economic levels and social and spiritual interests. Check our calendar for a list of monthly services and activities.