Open Temple

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 theInterfaith Inclusion Leadership Initiativeand 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


Muriel Dance, PhD, BCC

Muriel Dance currently serves as the Executive Director of the Sandra Caplan Community Bet Din, a membership organization of 130rabbis 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 Avivah W. Erlick, BCC


Rabbi Avivah Erlick (she/her) is a multi-faceted community rabbi, interfaith spiritual counselor, writer, teacher and entrepreneur.

As of 2021, she is a full-time chaplain at Metropolitan State Hospital in Norwalk, a psychiatric facility where she provides interfaith spiritual care to people cycling through the state’s mental health system. By teaching spiritual practices and engaging positive approaches to coping, she provides a crucial piece of their healing process.

Previously, she divided her time between many projects including hospice, jail visitation, teaching Jewish yoga, agent for other clergy people, and providing creative forms of the Jewish ceremony for the dead (taharah). This is in addition to teaching Introduction to Judaism courses, writing, speaking on cultural literacy to medical professionals, and private-practice rabbinics.

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.

Rabbi Robin Podolsky