That Shabbos Feeling…

The Jewish Journal comes to visit Open Temple, and gets that shabbos feeling: “While there was poignancy and intellectualism at a recent Friday Shabbat Take Me Higher service at Open Temple in Venice, the defining moment came when a rocking six-person band of local musicians launched into Justin Timberlake’s hit song “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” But instead of the familiar chorus, it was sung as, “Got a Shabbos feeling!”” Read more. 

Upstart Much?

Open Temple accelerates into the international spotlight! We have been invited to join Cohort 10 of the much celebrated UpStart Accelerator. UpStart partners with innovators to redesign the experience and expression of Jewish life. Rabbi Lori and members of the Open Temple staff will be working closely with UpStart and members of Cohort 10 (as well as past cohort participants) to take Open Temple to the next level.

We are particularly thrilled to share this journey with Sara Brandes, Zachary Lasker, Craig Reid Taubman and their organizations Or HaLev and Pico Union Project. Kudos to all of Cohort 10 Colleagues: JQ International, Eshel, Makom Community, Olive Tree Arts, Tikkun Ha-Ir, and No Shame on U, we look forward to getting to know you all!

Slingshot–We’re In!

The Slingshot Guide is the foremost comprehensive resource into today’s most groundbreaking and significant organizations, projects and programs of the North American Jewish community.


This year, for the first time, Slingshot released a Los Angeles edition, and Open Temple was one of only 26 organizations selected for inclusion. We are tremendously honored.


Inclusion in the Guide recognizes an organization as being among the best drivers of future Jewish life and engagement, and at Open Temple, we are committed to the re-enchantment of Jewish life through curiosity, creativity, and critical thought.


We have collaborated with many others included in the guide (hello Moishe House, NuRoots and Reboot!), been inspired by others, and look forward to many many collaborations in the future.


Good News : Venice History Can Be Saved


Good News!

The Cultural Commission has decided to consider the Tabor Residences for a Historic-Cultural Monument and will hold an “Under Consideration” hearing on May 18. At that time the Commission will decide whether to consider our nomination; if they do then there will be a site visit and a final hearing. There will be opportunity for Public Comment and you can also submit written statements. This is a multi-step process and if all goes well, the decision-making that starts on May 18 at the Cultural Heritage Commission will be decided on July 20.

If you are interested in getting involved, there are some actions you could take. Please also spread the word to others that may be interested.

Write to the city by May 10th so that your letter will be considered part of the public record in the Tabor Residences case to grant Historic status. The more support the City receives from the community, the better the chance we have of being considered.

Make it personal, tell what this property means to you, why you think it should be saved and honored. And especially why it is important that we honor Venice’s diverse heritage and in particular that of one of the founding families homes!

Be sure to include your name and address.

The Letters of Support should be sent to Copy Melissa Jones, OHR Planner,, and to me

Come to the Thursday May 18 meeting at City Hall and Speak! We need Venetians interested in their history. We need Oakwood neighbors who grew up knowing about the Tabors or not knowing and glad to be supporting this nomination. We need to tell them that there is more Venice History to be saved and you will be here again.

Tell everyone what is going on. Share this info with other concerned neighbors. Use Facebook to broadcast the importance of the history of the African-American community here in Venice.

Join our Facebook Group: Saving Venice History

As Jataun says we are doing this so “That future generations should know and learn about how it was.”

Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 12.35.18 PM

Membership. The Word Makes Me Cringe.

Membership. The word makes me cringe.

Growing up, I went to Hebrew school for one year. Third Grade. My mother went back to school to begin her studies for nursing, and Heather Stein’s mom picked me up from school on Wednesdays. Her carpool went to Temple Sinai in Cedarhurst, so I did, too, and I was enrolled in Hebrew School. I remember spending the year sitting in the back of the class with Heather and this cute boy LJ, and feeling really proud that I had 100% average in our Hebrew tests. The next year, my mom didn’t need the carpool, and I wanted to take more tap dance classes. I never was a bat mitzvah (

Years later, I wonder what belonging might have meant had my parents joined. I know that my life outside of ritual was a lonely one. Looking back, I vividly recall singing with the cantor, the Purim carnival, the lithe and bushy-haired rabbi introducing us to the prayer space, learning stories from the book of Genesis and a seedling of curiosity taking root for something I had no idea existed. I had ancestors? Something came before me? What did this mean?

Since then, I learned that my parents did not renew my Hebrew school because they didn’t want to pay membership. In creating Open Temple, our model is to be Open and Inclusive – no one will ever be turned away because of lack of funds. However, what we are providing for people needs to be supported in order to be sustainable.

What we are calling “Co-Creator”ship is akin to membership in that we are, in the words of Mordecai Kaplan, are creating a sacred space of “Belonging.” However, in general, synagogue membership has gone out of fashion. In fact, this eJewish Philanthropy article is a reminder of what works and what doesn’t:

Following this model of voluntary membership and transparent need, Open Temple will NEVER turn anyone away. We are just asking that our Co-Creators (that is you, the participant), become a part of supporting our future. And in that, we hope that you will offer your annual tax-deductible donation, as what we are building – in its unique, spirited, inclusive, fun and relevant re-enchanting way – is a part not only Venice’s future, but Judaism’s.

Join us.

Rabbi Lori Shapiro and the Open Temple Board of Directors