People

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People

Rabbi Lori Schneide Shapiro

Founding Rabbi/Artistic Director, The Open Temple, Venice, CA.

“For the Jew-ishly Curious and those who love us.”

Founder of Open Temple in Venice, CA, Lori’s rabbinate is dedicated to reaching unaffiliated and intermarried families and seekers. Previously the Director of Jewish Life and Senior Consultant for Interfaith Relations and Outreach at the University of Southern California Hillel, Lori’s transdenominational rabbinate was informed by her studies at the American Jewish University, years living in Israel studying within an Orthodox Jewish framework and graduation from both the Academy for Jewish Religion/California (MA in Rabbinics) as well as the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (MA in Jewish Studies). Rabbi Lori and Open Temple began as a part of a national incubator supporting cutting edge and innovative Jewish programming mentored by Rabbis Without Borders and CLAL. Rabbi Lori and Open Temple were then admitted as a member of Upstart Labs’ 10th Cohort and as a member of David Cygielman’s Open Dor Project. Rabbi Lori is a graduate of the Spiritual Direction program with the Yedidya Center for Spiritual Direction and is a member of Spiritual Directors International. Rabbi Lori is a member of the current cohort of the Interfaith Inclusion Leadership Initiative and is a proud Lion of Judah. Rabbi Lori is a member of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California and the Sandra Caplan Beit Din. She and her husband, Dr. Joel Shapiro, live in the Venice canals with their two daughters and labradoodle.

Jessica Miller

Director of Marketing & Engagement

Jessica Miller is a digital marketing and advertising specialist with a proven track record for successfully managing projects from strategy to conclusion. She has increased brand awareness and driven revenue for entertainment clients, Apple and 20th Century Fox as well as others. She is an analytical problem solver and is always up for a challenge. Passionate about social activism, she has traveled worldwide to practice Tikkun Olam, healing the world.  Jessica traveled to Nicaragua in 2015 to meet with local community leaders and better understand the social justice issues affecting the country, and in 2017, to Houston, Texas to support victims of Hurricane Harvey. After attending events at Open Temple for the past four years, she is excited to be part of the team and spread the word about all of Open Temple’s inclusive and spiritual happenings.

Shira Fox

Cantorial Soloist

Shira Fox is an LA native who most recently served as Cantor and a spiritual counselor for Beit T’shuvah, a recovery-based community/congregation and treatment facility that integrates Judaism and the Creative Arts. In addition to serving as the Cantor of Temple Kol Tikvah in Woodland Hills from 2013-2015, Shira has also been an Artist in Residence with Jewish Women’s Theater. She also held the position of B’nai Mitzvah Program Coordinator from 2006 to 2012 for Kehillat Israel, Pacific Palisades, where she invested her passion for Judaism towards a love for teaching kids and Jewish communal work.  Shira grew up immersed in Synagogue music and life as the daughter of an LA based Cantor. She holds a degree in Literature/Creative Writing from SUNY.

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Gina Draklich

Accountant / Bookkeeper

Gina Draklich is a freelance bookkeeper who also provides a variety of administrative and marketing services to her clients. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she studied Art History in college and had a twenty-five year career in film marketing before opening her own bookkeeping business. In her free time she likes to paint and walk on the beach. She is also an animal rights advocate and volunteer.

Elizabeth Forrest

Administrative Guru

Elizabeth grew up in a small town in Northern California where she was 1/5 of the Jewish population. After high school, she wanted a taste of city life, so she moved to San Diego to study media and television at San Diego State University. While there, she volunteered with a feminist, on-campus organization and discovered how wonderful it felt to give back. In November of 2016, she made the move to Los Angeles to work as an AmeriCorps VISTA at an educational nonprofit and write for an online entertainment magazine. She now lives at Moishe House Venice and works as the Administrative Guru at Open Temple, where she hopes to learn more about Judaism and strengthen her identity.

Jesse Pudles

Teacher

Jesse was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He started his Jewish exploration at the age of 8 when he began attending Pinemere Jewish Summer Camp. He went on to get his degree in Theatre from Chapman University, where he was a founding member of the Jewish Fraternity AEPi on his campus. Since college Jesse has worked in fields such as organizational leadership, positivity coaching, and executive coaching with both adults and children. He has also recently stared in his first feature film, Groupers, which is being released by Global Digital Releasing. Jesse is so grateful to be a part of the Open Temple Family, and see what he can can offer to the Creative Torah Academy curriculum.

Faith Moore

Happenings Human

Faith was born in Amarillo, TX where she learned her love for service work through volunteering with her youth group and serving the community with her family. Later she moved to Denton, TX to pursue a career in Social Work. During her time in the Social Work program and her internship with Communities in Schools, her love for service work grew. She is now part of an Episcopalian Urban Intern Program called Jubilee Consortium that brought her to Los Angeles to further her experience with non-profit work. Faith is eager to be a part of the Open Temple team and contribute to the flow of daily operations and assisting with Open Temple happenings. On the weekends you’ll find her enjoying the beach, going to a music festival or trying new food.

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The Open Temple Band

Open Temple Musicians

Through the creative experience and practice of playing in the band, band members learn active listening, tolerance and social cues. They gain an appreciation of their own importance in the group while respecting the roles of their fellow band members.

When the Open Temple Band performs for the community, there is a self-perception that they are giving the gift of music to their audience. Their hard work, both as individuals and as a group, is rewarded with a sense of accomplishment, acknowledgement of their talents, and an appreciation of their efforts. Participants gain self-esteem and sense of purpose by making people happy with their music.

Deborah Schmidt

Resident Spiritual Director 

In 2010, Deborah realized how important it was for her to explore, actively and in-depth, what gave her life meaning, and she began a soul-journey. After having worked as a business lawyer for 25 years, she went back to school, earning an MA in Jewish Studies, a Certificate in Chaplaincy from the Academy of Jewish Religion California in 2014, and board certification from the National Association of Jewish Chaplains and the Association of Professional Chaplains in 2017. In addition, she completed training as a Spiritual Director with Yedidya Center for Jewish Spiritual Direction in 2017. Finally, she was also trained as a practitioner of Reiki, an ancient art that is often helpful in spiritual counseling work. Deborah started Sacred Conversations to guide other seekers and, to strengthen or explore what matters to them. Sacred Conversations also provides spiritual support to individuals and families as they share their beliefs and concerns about their end of life, and appoint a surrogate who can speak for them when they can no longer speak for themselves. She also works as a chaplain at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and in the Los Angeles County jails.

Avi Sherbill

Avi Sherbill is a certified sound therapist who has over 12 years of sound production experience with a background in addiction treatment and an education in Music Composition from the Art Institute of Chicago.

Jordana Reim

As both a spiritual guide and well-being coach, Jordana combines her trained modalities to meet individuals wherever they are on their path. Pulling from 15 years of training, her certifications include yoga, meditation, emotional intelligence, sound healing and Ayurvedic massage. With over 10 years of success in corporate America as an Advertising Producer, Jordana seamlessly bridges the worlds of wellness and western working culture for her clientele. While rooted in Eastern philosophy, Jordana shares ancient wisdom in relatable ways for modern day living. Jordana founded 180 Retreats after immersing herself in transformation, traveling to ashrams, monasteries and even cliffside caves in India, Nepal and Thailand. Leading personal growth retreats, she combines learning of local culture and ritual with reflection, yoga, meditation and nature. Her retreats in 2019 include a spiritual journey through Northern India and a trekking excursion to Everest Base Camp.

Zach Puchtel

Author, Poet, Speaker, Renaissance Man, Open Temple Band Member, Divine Rhymer, Believer in Magic, and college basketball and football player at University of Minnesota and Harvard.

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One who occupies oneself with the needs of the community is as though one has occupied oneself with Torah.

Talmud Yerushalmi, Berakhot