In 2010, four families sought a personalized Torah education for their children, with consideration for their needs as intermarried, blended and international families. They approached Rabbi Lori Shapiro, then the Director of Jewish Life and Interfaith Relations at the University of Southern California Hillel and a Religious Life Director on USC Campus, to collaborate with them. From 2012 to 2015, Rabbi Lori worked with these families and set up a kiosk at the Abbot Kinney Street Festival as a Sukkah with a Torah, asking what people, both Jewish and Jew-ishly curious, were looking for in spiritual community.
Early experimentation included Shabbat services in the theater of the Electric Lodge, a Freedom seder in a loft in Venice, Shabbat at Winston House, collaborations with Daybreaker, and family experiences in a dance studio, all while she continued to work with individuals and families to bring them home to Judaism. These elements became what would form the heart of Open Temple (creative Hebrew school for children, adult learning, Shabbat and holiday celebrations and community engagement). Emerging from this period of experimentation coalesced our first signature Shabbat Take Me Higher in early 2016, solidifying (concurrent with the Fall 2016 opening of Open Temple House) Open Temple as a center for Creative Jewish Spirituality serving musicians, performers, and the spiritually creative. Since then, Open Temple has continued to grow from strength to strength, with robust programming for children, families, individuals, couples and seekers of all ages and backgrounds.
“Sing unto God a new song.”
If God is already tired, as suggests the Psalm, of hearing the old song, all the more so will ordinary mortals be.
-Alcalay (20th c. Jewish lexicographer)
The Open Temple.
Sing a new Song.