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Congregation B’nai B’rith to Celebrate 90 Years, Cantor Mark Childs at Dreamers Ball

Congregation B’nai B’rith Cantor Mark Childs leads children in song during Mitzvah Day, an annual temple-wide event that sends volunteers into the community to benefit nonprofit organizations. Childs will be honored at the Dreamers Ball for his 25 years of service at Congregation B’nai B’rith.
Congregation B’nai B’rith Cantor Mark Childs leads children in song during Mitzvah Day, an annual temple-wide event that sends volunteers into the community to benefit nonprofit organizations. Childs will be honored at the Dreamers Ball for his 25 years of service at Congregation B’nai B’rith. (Jay Farbman photo)

Congregation B’nai B’rith, Santa Barbara’s largest Jewish synagogue, will celebrate its 90th anniversary at a Chagall-inspired Dreamers Ball to be held at the Bacara Resort & Spa on Jan. 22.

“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,” said Cantor Mark Childs, who will be honored at the gala for his 25 years at CBB.

The theme of the ball, honoring yesterday, today and tomorrow, will pay homage to the 14 founding families who had a vision to build a home for 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 ball will celebrate the rich history of CBB, the vibrant current community, led musically by Cantor Childs, and the commitment to innovation and strength into the future.

“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,” said Rabbi Stephen Cohen, who has been the synagogue’s spiritual leader since 2004 and works in partnership with Cantor Childs. “I believe that right now, we are setting the stage for the next 100 years of CBB 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.”

Through song, Jewish teaching and humor, Cantor Childs has touched thousands of lives in Santa Barbara since his arrival to CBB 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,” Rabbi Cohen said.

While CBB serves as a spiritual sanctuary to its diverse and inclusive community (the temple has more than 25 percent interfaith families), it’s also integral to the greater Santa Barbara community, through social action and religious outreach programs. Cantor Childs serves as the Jewish liaison with the Santa Barbara Interfaith Initiative, chaplain at Cottage Hospital, spiritual advisor at many assisted living homes, and consultant with Showers of Blessings, Anti-Defamation League, UCSB Hillel and many others. His work focuses on interfaith organizing and learning, and issues related to homelessness, hunger and ecology. Cantor Childs is also a member of the Greater Santa Barbara Clergy Association and has been instrumental in spearheading its efforts to create interfaith worship experiences for Thanksgiving and the Love.Period event.

The temple, as a whole, works closely with many local organizations to strengthen and improve the lives of those in the community. A temple-wide annual Mitzvah Day sends volunteers into the community to benefit dozens of nonprofit organizations. In addition, CBB 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 has even extended beyond our borders, helping to build the Ubumwe Center preschool and elementary school in Rwanda, Africa.

Click here for more information about Dreamers Ball sponsorship opportunities, tickets or tribute book advertising, or email [email protected].

— Ann Pieramici represents Congregation B’nai B’rith.


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