Founding Rabbi/Artistic Director
“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 developed when she was part of the inaugural cohort of the Clergy Leadership Incubator (CLI), a training ground for innovation in the rabbinate, directed by Rabbi Sid Schwarz. 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.
One who occupies oneself with the needs of the community is as though one has occupied oneself with Torah.
Talmud Yerushalmi, Berakhot
A New York native, Kirsten is, above all else, an enthusiast and generalist. She believes less in titles and roles than in getting things done. That said, her work (and titles) have ranged broadly, and have included financial analyst, writer and editor, producer, director of production, and (her favorite catchy title) Chief Wrangler. She’s also cleared a lot of clutter. After years of failed attempts, she finally achieved escape velocity from the for profit world, and hasn’t looked back.
Kirsten believes in walking, public transport, and the power of intentional and accidental communities. Kirsten has a big love of science, faith, and startups of all kinds and believes in the laudability of wonder. She is a pragmatically minded optimist.
She holds a BA from Williams College, and did graduate work at Cambridge and Harvard universities. She and her husband Matt are the proud parents of the glorious Arrow.
Director of Operations
A Los Angeles native, Rachel loves all things that involve people, human interaction and spirituality. Before joining the team at Open Temple she spent most of her career in the spa industry, most recently at Surya Spa in Santa Monica. A Co-Creator and Creative Torah Academy parent since 5783, she is thrilled to bring her hospitality and operations experience to Open Temple.
Rachel thrives on the power of community, kindness and the acceptance of all. She refills her cup with simple wellness activities, meditating, sound healing and Reiki and focuses on creating safe spaces to express, be seen and be heard.
She and her husband Brad have a magnificent daughter Eva with the kindest soul and two of the sweetest, sassiest cats, Juniper Moon and Snowball Star that you will ever meet.
Rabbi Ilana Berenbaum Grinblat comes to Open Temple after six years as Vice President of Community Engagement for the Board of Rabbis of Southern California. She is the author of The Viral Spread of Hope: Finding Inspiration in Tough Times (published in September 2022), Castles and Catch: Spiritual Lessons Children Teach Us published by Author House (July 2015) and Blessings and Babysteps: The Spiritual Path of Parenting published by Behrman House in 2011. She is a regular contributor to the Jewish Journal. She holds an honorary doctorate of divinity from the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies. For nearly twenty years, she taught Midrash (biblical interpretation) at the American Jewish University’s, Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, where she was ordained in 2001. She is the wife of Tal (a franchise lawyer) and mother of two children, Jeremy and Hannah.
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.