CTA Artists in Residence
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.
Zach Puchtel is an 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.
Jesse Pudles 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.
Julia Lisa is a Teaching Artist and Eco-Conscious Living Coach. She has been honored to work with families at Open Temple to help them save money and stay healthy all while protecting the planet! Julia grew up homeschooled (before it was mainstream) and developed a love for the arts and natural world. The earth without ‘art’ is just ‘Eh’, but there is no art without the earth. She worked in Sustainability for the City of Los Angeles and Santa Monica, helping arts institutions transition to green business practices. She also loves working with kids and has had the pleasure of teaching the arts for the last 14 years at places like New Roads School, Theatricum Botanicum, Creating Arts, Ace Enrichment, and iLead school. She is excited to be working with Open Temple.
David Dassa is a world renowned Israeli dance teacher and choreographer, has taught Israeli folk dance in Los Angeles for the past 40 years and conducted hundreds of workshops throughout the United States and abroad. He led huge dance evenings here in the United States for 35 years with hundreds of dancers attending each weekly session. David, along with his first Israeli dance company, performed in the opening ceremonies of the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. He choreographed several biblical dance scenes for the DreamWorks film, The Prince of Egypt. David ran the famed Camp Rikud for over 20 years, since taking it over from his father, Dani Dassa, in the early 1990s. David now runs a Memorial Day Cultural Arts Weekend at Camp Hess Kramer in Malibu (open to all of the community). David is also known for his work with children and has been teaching dance at Milken Community Schools since 1998. In June 2004, David joined Wilshire Boulevard Temple as the Director of Dance for Camp Hess Kramer and Brawerman Elementary School. David was the Director of Dance at Brandeis-Bardin Institute and at Camp Alonim for over 27 years.
Rachel Bordeleau, originally from the Midwest, recently moved to Los Angeles after working as a textile designer on the east coast. With a diverse background in all things art and events, Rachel has found a home with Open Temple’s adaptive and creative programming. In her free time, Rachel loves to bake treats, go on hikes, and daydream about finding a place to compost in the city.
Robin Murez is a public artist and instructor based in Los Angeles, California. Her sculptural installations throughout the US have won numerous awards, critical acclaim and are loved by their communities.
From transforming blighted street corners to creating surprising, contemplative and beautiful public spaces, Murez’ work relates seamlessly, if not unexpectedly, to its community and site, as it inspires sensory experiences and provokes conceptual investigations.
Both abstract and figurative, Murez’ work is often narrative: sculptural installations that set the stage and invite viewers to be transported into the story. Aesthetics and unexpected surprises draw viewers in, they then enjoy etherial sensations and explore conceptual beliefs.
Murez works both two and three dimensionally, in a wide range of mediums including bronze, concrete, glass, stone, resin, mosaic, steel, light, paint, earth and digital media. The scale of her work is from architectural to intimate and often draws upon the cultural history of individuals and communities.
One who occupies oneself with the needs of the community is as though one has occupied oneself with Torah.
Talmud Yerushalmi, Berakhot