Rabbi Lori from The Open Temple on the cover of the Jewish Journal

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August 22, 2018

Opening Hearts, Minds and a Temple


 It’s Friday night and people are gathering outside the Electric Lodge, an intimate theater space near Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice before Open Temple’s monthly “Shabbat Take Me Higher” service.

The scene is decidedly “Venice,” with its on-site electric vehicle charging station, Bird scooters available for rent, and a woman wearing a hat that reads, “Mystical Mama.” A boy named Henry, whose bar mitzvah is the following morning, is wearing a fedora and a slim-fitting button-down shirt.
  He looks as though he’s getting ready to perform at a club instead of reading from the Torah.

But this is par for the course for Open Temple. Founded by Rabbi Lori Shapiro in 2016, it seeks to engage the unaffiliated, intermarried and Jewishly curious.


Shapiro, 46, was born and raised in New York and grew up with little to no Judaism. 

“I grew up outside of ritual,” she said. “Imagine growing up and not having Passover. You know when Rosh Hashanah is because you’re off from school, but there was no going to shul.”

After studying English at Barnard College in New York, Shapiro moved to Israel for three years. She said it was there, in the kabbalistic city of Tzfat in the northern region of the country, that she found her Jewish identity. That led to enrolling in rabbinical school at the Conservative American Jewish University (AJU) in Los Angeles. While there, she discovered Reconstructionist Judaism and began to question whether she wanted to commit to a single denomination. She left AJU and joined the staff at Kehillat Israel, a Reconstructionist synagogue in Pacific Palisades. For more than four years, she helped build the congregation’s youth department.
Taken from JewishJournal.com

Read the full story here. 
Lori Shapiro, Rabbi
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