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History of the Petaluma Jewish Community

Please feel free to contribute any historical information, book recommendations, links, photos, chicken crossing the road jokes, etc. to the webmaster: !

"In those days, inter-marriage was when a kid of the left married a kid of the right."


"Joe Rapoport, The Life of a Jewish Radical",
Temple University Press, 1981.

"Comrades and Chicken Ranchers",
Kenneth L. Kann; Cornell University Press, 1993.

General Petaluma history:

"Empty Shells",
Thea Lowry; Manifold Press, 2000.

About Yiddish song:

3 books published by Workman's Circle in NY and compiled by Eleanor Mlotek:
  • "Mir Trogn a Gezang," 1972.
  • "Pearls of Yiddish Song," 1988.
  • "Songs of Generations".

"Voices of a People",
Ruth Rubin; Jewish Publication Society of America, 1979.


Web Links:

Bonnie Burt Productions
Bonnie Burt Productions Web site; contains listings and purchase information for all of Bonnie's movies, with online videocassette sales.

Timbrels and Torahs
Judith Montell's previous (2001) project Web site, about the new Jewish women's ritual Simchat Torah.

Petaluma Chamber of Commerce
Chamber of Commerce's website features a "mural" - click on the different headings to learn about various components of Petaluma's history, including chicken farms

The Petaluma Argus Courier
history of the 100+ year old community newspaper

article describing a class one can take about Petaluma's architectural history

An upcoming class through Santa Rosa Junior College's Office of Community Education offers a look at Petaluma's history and architecture

article about "Empty Shells" and its author, Thea Lowry:

"Author Thea Lowry has written an entertaining and information-packed book on Petaluma's history as one of the country's chicken capitals"

The Jewish Bulletin of Northern California
article about 75th birthday of Jewish Community Center ("The Center") in Petaluma (many of the photos on this site have been scanned from that celebration's memorial book)

The Press Democrat
article about centenarians, including one time Petaluma resident Gussie Sovel

UC Berkeley
excerpt from a Free Speech Movement Archives Oral Histories interview with Sidney Roger; describes prevalence of Communism among Jews in Petaluma in early 20th century

Sidney Roger, A Liberal Journalist on the Air and on the Waterfront: Labor and Political Issues, 1932-1990, an oral history conducted in 1989 and 1990 by Julie Shearer, Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 1998.

article about Bernard Offen, Petaluma resident, holocaust survivor & film documentarian; from the Jewish Bulletin of Northern California 1992 article

The Petaluma Museum
website of the Petaluma museum, featuring historical exhibits

Jewish Family
review of Judith Montell's movie, TIMBRELS AND TORAHS, about Jewish women's wisdom; Home on the Range is mentioned


photo of the Petaluma Jewish Community hall from the Golden Anniversary guide
The opening of the Petaluma Jewish Community Center, August 1925; from the 50th Anniversary Souvenir Journal of 1975
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