Congregation B’Nai B’Rith Celebrates 90 Years

Posted on Jan 4 by Leslie Dinaberg


Cantor Mark Childs to be Honored at Dreamers Ball on Jan. 22 

Congregation B’nai B’rith celebrates its 90th anniversary at a Chagall-inspired Dreamers Ball to be held at the Bacara Resort on January 22.

The dreamers theme—which honors yesterday, today and tomorrow—pays homage to the 14 founding families who had a vision to build a home for the Jews in Santa Barbara in 1927. What started as a dream thrived beyond expectation to the temple of today—a beautiful sanctuary that serves as a spiritual home to more than 800 families.

The Dreamer’s Ball celebrates the rich history of Congregation B’nai B’rith, the vibrant current community, led musically by Cantor Mark Childs,  and the commitment to innovation and strength into the future.

Cantor Mark Childs, photo by Jay Farbman.

Cantor Mark Childs, photo by Jay Farbman.

“This is a moment to pause in a long continuum of time to celebrate our growth, to honor those who kept us going over the decades, to remember those who have passed along the way, to sigh as we recollect the hard times, to laugh as we recall the high moments, to marvel at the vision of those upon whose shoulders we stand, and to embrace each other as we face our road forward,” says Cantor Childs who will be honored at the gala for his 25 years of service at Congregation B’nai B’rith.

“Congregation B’nai B’rith has been, and will always be filled with the spirit of close community and the priority of educating the next moral, ethical and literate Jewish generation,” says Rabbi Stephen Cohen, who has been the synagogue’s spiritual leader since 2014, and works in partnership with Cantor Childs.

“I believe that right now, we are setting the stage for the next 100 years of Congregation B’nai B’rith communal life. We will maintain our deep connections to the Jewish people around the world, and throughout history, but we are also finding our place in Santa Barbara, alongside the Chumash, and the Latinos, the marvelous interfaith community of Muslims, the Catholics, Unitarians, Episcopalians, Evangelicals, Mormons, Hindus and Buddhists. Here in Santa Barbara, we Jews have a role to play. Our congregation should be a light to our entire city, and a model of healthy, feisty, dynamic, reverent, warm and welcoming community,” explains Rabbi Cohen.

Through song, Jewish teaching and humor, Cantor Childs has touched thousands of lives in Santa Barbara since his arrival 25 years ago. From his weekly song sessions with preschoolers at Beit Ha Yeladim, to his work with hundreds of b’nai mitzvot students, to his inspired leadership, interfaith partnerships and connection with seniors and community members throughout Santa Barbara, Cantor Childs has been a role model and an inspiration, marking everyday moments and significant life-cycle milestones with music and prayer. “He is an exceptional human being, a brilliant and humble leader, a supremely reliable teammate and partner, and a gifted singer,” says Rabbi Cohen.

Congregation B’nai B’rith serves as a spiritual sanctuary to its diverse and inclusive community (the temple has over 25% interfaith families), but is also integral to the greater Santa Barbara community, through social action and religious outreach programs and collaborations with the Santa Barbara Interfaith Initiative, Cottage Hospital, assisted living homes, Showers of Blessings, Anti-Defamation League, UCSB Hillel, and many others.  A temple-wide annual Mitzvah Day sends volunteers into the community to benefit dozens of nonprofits. In addition, Congregation B’nai B’rith has ongoing programs serving food to the homeless community in Pershing Park and working with Transition House in their community kitchen. The temple’s reach even extended to build the Ubumwe Center preschool and elementary school in Rwanda, Africa.

The celebration takes place on January 22 at 5:30 p.m. at Bacara Resort & Spa, 8301 Hollister Ave., Goleta. To find out more about the Dreamers Ball, visit the event page at, call 805/964-7869, or email

—Leslie Dinaberg



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