Soul Journey Instructors
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.
Muriel Dance, PhD, BCC
Muriel Dance currently serves as the Executive Director of the Sandra Caplan Community Bet Din, a membership organization of 130 rabbis that provide a pluralistic path to conversion. A Board Certified Chaplain, and Ph.D. in English, she graduated as a Jewish Chaplain from the Academy for Jewish Religion CA. After graduation she worked as a hospice chaplain and grief specialist at the Jewish Home in LA. Muriel earned her Ph.D. in English from UC Berkeley, worked as a college professor and later as an academic dean. She also spent a sabbatical year in Israel as a Senior Educator at Hebrew University. She served as chair of adult education at a Seattle congregation where she also taught Introduction to Judaism and Hebrew. Muriel is married, has two adult children and is a member at Ikar.
Rabbi Janet Madden, PhD
A ritualist, teacher and widely-published writer, Rabbi Janet Madden, Ph.D. is a certified Jewish Spiritual Director and trained in Sacred Chant. She is also an experienced hospice and hospital rabbi, certified as a palliative care chaplain and grief specialist. She is a member of theBoard of Governors of the Sandra Caplan Community Bet Din. She serves two congregations, one in Playa Vista, CA and one in Honolulu, HI. She is also the rabbi of Providence Saint John’s Medical Center in Santa Monica CA.
Rabbi Lisa Bock
Rabbi Avivah W. Erlick
Rabbi Avivah Erlick is a multi-faceted community rabbi, interfaith spiritual counselor, writer, teacher and entrepreneur.
She is a hospice chaplain, visiting terminally ill people of all faiths in their homes and care facilities, and counseling their grieving relatives. She is the Jewish Chaplain at Metropolitan State psychiatric hospital in Norwalk, and visits inmates in the LA County jail system.
Avivah owns two small companies. Community Rabbis is a referral agency that provides assisted living facilities with Jewish professionals to lead religious programming. And Sacred Waters is a liberal chevra kaddisha, making the Jewish ceremony for the dead (taharah) available to modern hospice families, on their terms. She also officiates weddings, baby namings and funerals, and teaches adult/continuing education courses on spiritual and cultural topics.
Avivah was ordained in 2009 by the Academy for Jewish Religion California, and she holds the highest credential in the field of spiritual care, Board Certified Chaplain, presented by the Association of Professional Chaplains in 2013.
The rabbinate is Rabbi Avivah’s second career; she was previously a newspaper editor and writer. She lives in Whittier, Calif., with her husband, and she has one adult daughter.
Tamar Frankel, PhD
Tamar Frankiel has been Professor of Comparative Religion at the Academy for Jewish Religion, California for 15 years, and served as its Dean of Academic Affarirs, Provost, and President. Her Ph.D. is from the University of Chicago in History of Religions.
Tamar’s writing has included scholarly works on the history of Christianity and American religious history, as well as inspirational books on Jewish spirituality and prayer, such as The Gift of Kabbalah. Her most recent books include Loving Prayer, on the Jewish weekday prayer service; She Rises While It Is Still Night, an introduction to dreaming in the framework of Jewish mysticism; and Earth Island Rising, a novel of archeology and intrigue among ancient Native American cultures.
As Provost of AJRCA, she helped establish interfaith studies with the Claremont School of Theology, Bayan Claremont, and University of the West (Buddhist). For the past four years she has been part of a team of scholars engaged in Jewish-Mormon (Latter-day Saints) dialogue.
One who occupies oneself with the needs of the community is as though one has occupied oneself with Torah.
Talmud Yerushalmi, Berakhot