Open Temple

We’ve Got Grants!

Open Temple is thrilled to share that we received two grants this fall. Custom and Craft will help Open Temple maximize our social media and web presence among millennials and young adults. The yearlong program, which begins this month, will include consultation, training and content-creation for our online platforms. The goal of the program is to give Open Temple the knowledge and tools to create a more dynamic and engaging social media presence. Our second grant was from Jewish Federation NuRoots Infinite Lights in support of our “Hanukah on the Canal Parade/Hanukah Primitivo.”  

We are also thrilled for our upcoming collaboration with Netiya on December 13th.   

We’ve Got Grants! Read More »

Hired! Meet Tatiana


Tatiana joins Open Temple as Outreach Coordinator helping us meet one another and strategically grow.

Tatiana first encountered Open Temple at a Friday night service with Rabbi Lori Shapiro, where she was engaged by the musical atmosphere, intellectual curiosity of the community and Rabbi Shapiro’s progressive approach to Judaism while staying true to tradition. Passionate about this new and growing community, Tatiana joined the team to apply her skills and spread the word.

Tatiana holds a BA in political science from the University of Western Ontario and a JD/MBA with a focus on finance from Osgoode Hall Law School and Schulich School of Business, top ranked institutions both in North America and worldwide. Her career has led her to work with top legal and investment banking institutions, with experience in a M&A, fixed income financing and real estate transactions, servicing clients in the media, technology, retail and real estate industries in Toronto and New York.

Tatiana’s creative passions led her to move to LA, to join Machine Shop, a business arm and branding agency for Grammy-Award winning band Linkin Park. As Director of Strategy, Tatiana with tasked with creating new lanes of revenue for the band by exploring new content monetization strategies, developing branding partnerships, as well as merchandise and fashion projects. As part of this mandate, Tatiana spearheaded the creation of an international VC platform, Machine Shop Ventures, an early stage fund focused on the tech and media space in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Tokyo and Tel Aviv.

Most recently, Tatiana has followed her entrepreneurial spirit to focus on independent projects in real estate and entertainment, as well as working with start-ups to develop strategies for long-term growth.

Outside of her professional career, Tatiana is passionate about travel, music, creative writing and Jewish cooking.

Hired! Meet Tatiana Read More »

Rabbi Lori’s Un-Bat Mitzvah


From Rabbi Lori:

Growing up in the Five Towns of Long Island, Shabbat passed by the house I grew up in every Friday night, waiting for me to join her, as a parade of men in dark suits and children in colorful dresses accompanied her to Young Israel of Woodmere.  In 1985, the year that would have been my Bat Mitzvah, I was still eight years shy from the time I would join any Shabbat procession.

Read the whole story here:

Rabbi Lori’s Un-Bat Mitzvah Read More »

Full Transparency: High Holidays 2015

During our High Holiday services this year, we distributed a folder containing information about Open Temple, our Happenings, Creative Torah Academy, and Budget. We made a decision to be completely transparent as a community about our income and our spending, and included information for both FY 2015 and 2016.

At the Yom Kippur service, our incoming Board President, Blake Fogel, offered to match all donations between the Yom Kippur service and Sunday September 27th (the day of the Abbot Kinney festival). We have been overwhelmed by the response, and feel so supported in our decision to turn to the community to fund our programs over the next year.

If you were not at services, and want to see the folder, we’re happy to send you one. If you’d just like to see the contents, please feel free to download them below.

High Holiday Handouts

Full Transparency: High Holidays 2015 Read More »

Venice Freedom Seder


Venice Freedom Seder

Saturday, April 4th 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm

Electric Lodge, 1416 Electric Avenue, Venice, CA 90291
Free Valet ParkingFeaturing the Music of the Open Temple Beit T’shuvah Band
and a Bedouin Tent
Wilderness Vibe
You Can Let Go.

Click Here For Tickets

$55* (before March 30)
$75* ( April 3)
$85 (at door)
$18* (for kids under 13)

Everyone is Welcome

Dinner will feature both Vegan/Vegetarian and Poultry Options
*plus Eventbrite ticket handling fee

Venice Freedom Seder Read More »

JTA: Women rabbis at forefront of pioneering prayer communities


Innovative Women Rabbis
Clockwise from top left, Rabbi Lori Shapiro of Open Temple, Rabbi Rachel Nussbaum of The Kavana Cooperative, Rabbi Noa Kushner of The Kitchen, Rabbi Lizzi Heydemann of Mishkan Chicago, Rabbi Naomi Levy of Nashuva and Rabbi Sharon Brous of Ikar. (Courtesy of the congregations)

…Open Temple, founded to reach out to Jews with very little Jewish background, has focused on education, and on community-building through events celebrating major holidays and b’nai mitzvot. The community already has a Hebrew school and b’nai mitzvah program, and is preparing to introduce regular Shabbat services in the coming year.


Open Temple holding its family Rosh Hashanah service. (Jordan Teller)

Several of the communities are moving toward affiliating with one another in a more formal way.

In May, Brous, Kushner, Nussbaum and Heydemann — along with Romemu’s Ingber, Amichai Lau-Levie of Lab/Shul in Manhattan and Rabbi Scott Perlo (a former rabbinic intern at Ikar) from Sixth & I Historic Synagogue — met at the Leichtag Ranch north of San Diego to discuss ways to work together more closely and potentially articulate a common vision. The group’s participants, who jokingly call themselves the G7, said the discussions had not yet turned into anything concrete, but suggested that something more definite would be forthcoming in the coming weeks and months.

They all stressed that they were not looking to form any sort of movement.

The innovative communities and their rabbis are increasingly being cited as models for the Jewish future. Several were honored in the Slingshot Fund’s newly issued directory of innovative Jewish organizations, and Levy says she travels on a monthly basis to speak to synagogues about spiritual outreach and creativity.

How precisely these communities will evolve remains an open question. And in certain ways, they already have — adding new services as the congregations grow and as members’ needs and desires change. Kavana has created a Hebrew immersion preschool and religious school, and has added adult education programs as its cohort of older congregants grows. The Kitchen’s “Shabbatify” program organizes Shabbat dinners of 12 to 20 people in participants’ homes, and the community is in the process of opening a store to sell its self-designed prayer books and a Passover game.

But Myers, an Ikar member from its early days, says that as the communities grow and evolve, those that wish to survive in the long term will inevitably need to develop their institutional forms and find new ways to generate and harness energy.

JTA: Women rabbis at forefront of pioneering prayer communities Read More »

The Jewish Daily Forward: Female Rabbis Lead Pioneering Prayer Communities


A decade ago in Los Angeles, two organizations opened their doors with a call to prayer — or they would have if they had any doors to open.

Ikar, led by Rabbi Sharon Brous, and Nashuva, led by Rabbi Naomi Levy, were conceived separately. But when they launched in 2004, both offered a novel, and in many ways similar, approach to Jewish spirituality and community — regularly scheduled, rabbi-led services that were not affiliated with any movement or institution, that met in rented space, and that were avowedly not synagogues.

Clockwise from top left, Rabbi Lori Shapiro of Open Temple, Rabbi Rachel Nussbaum of The Kavana Cooperative, Rabbi Noa Kushner of The Kitchen, Rabbi Lizzi Heydemann of Mishkan Chicago, Rabbi Naomi Levy of Nashuva and Rabbi Sharon Brous of Ikar. (Courtesy of the congregations) Read more:
Clockwise from top left, Rabbi Lori Shapiro of Open Temple, Rabbi Rachel Nussbaum of The Kavana Cooperative, Rabbi Noa Kushner of The Kitchen, Rabbi Lizzi Heydemann of Mishkan Chicago, Rabbi Naomi Levy of Nashuva and Rabbi Sharon Brous of Ikar. (Courtesy of the congregations)

“We were trying to walk into the conversation about Jewish identity and community and ritual without preconceived ideas about where we would land,” Brous told JTA, describing the beginnings of Ikar. “What we were trying to do didn’t follow any model that already existed.”

Since then, however, the format pioneered by Nashuva and Ikar has become its own recognizable model, and similar spiritual communities with a noticeably common style have sprung up in a number of other cities across the country. Prayer is designed to be heartfelt and arouse the spirit. Often there is clapping, dancing and singing without words. Worshipers tend to skew young, informal and hip. The groups don’t own buildings; typically they meet in up-and-coming or already desirable neighborhoods. The communities are led by charismatic rabbis who stress innovation and outreach to Jews who feel alienated from existing Jewish institutions. They are nondenominational. They often don’t know exactly how to describe themselves.

And most, but not all, have one more common element: They were founded, and are still being led by, women rabbis.

In 2006, Rabbi Rachel Nussbaum launched The Kavana Cooperative in Seattle. In 2011, Rabbi Noa Kushner opened The Kitchen in San Francisco and Rabbi Lizzi Heydemann initiated Mishkan Chicago in the Windy City. In 2012, Rabbi Lori Shapiro started Open Temple in the West Los Angeles neighborhood of Venice.

Read more >

The Jewish Daily Forward: Female Rabbis Lead Pioneering Prayer Communities Read More »