Open Temple

People

Rabbi Lori Schneide Shapiro

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 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.

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.

Kirsten Hudson

Managing Director

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 and her husband Matt are the proud parents of the glorious Arrow. She holds a BA from Williams College, and did graduate work at Cambridge and Harvard universities.

Jayne Bennett

Administrative Coordinator

Jayne was born in Georgia, but has spent most of her life in North Carolina, just outside Raleigh. She recently earned a Psychology degree from Elon University in Elon, North Carolina. She wishes she had an engaging story about how she decided she wanted to work at nonprofits, but the truth is that the idea just came to her one day and she decided to run with it. That decision led Jayne to the Jubilee Year Los Angeles program and Open Temple, and it was the best decision she could have made. 

Yael Schuster

Creative Torah Academy Coordinator

Yael Schuster is Open Temple’s Creative Torah Academy Coordinator, has been working in the theatre, and with children, for over 25 years. When working with children, she focuses on helping them create and tell their own stories, and has helped mold those stories into productions which were staged on both coasts. 

Yael has a  BA in Women’s Studies and Film from The New School in New York City, and is currently in her third year of MFA Performance Pedagogy Program at LMU. 

She is  looking forward to working with Rabbi Lori and her creative team and bringing the Torah to life in Open Temple’s Creative Torah Academy and is excited about exploring Judaism through playful learning.

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.

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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