Get to Know Us!
Ohr HaTorah Synagogue was founded by Rabbi Mordecai and Meirav Finley in December 1993 with the support of a small group of families. Rabbi Mordecai and Meirav were inspired to build a shul that could attract a diverse group of congregants hoping to find both a vibrant community and a place that encouraged personal and spiritual development.
Non-affiliated, Ohr HaTorah continues to inspire Jewish practice and celebration in the lives of many in the Los Angeles area. Through the years, Ohr HaTorah has earned its unique reputation through its Rabbi, whose exemplary leadership, erudition, spiritual depth, and renowned teaching abilities have attracted diverse participants.
Ohr HaTorah is dedicated to creating a warm and embracing community of friends, so we invite you to help us reach out to you. It is our hope that your participation in Ohr HaTorah will always be meaningful and pleasurable.
We especially encourage you to attend Shabbat morning services, since your attendance allows us to see members of the community on a regular basis. It also provides you with an opportunity to connect with your community.
We understand if you are unable to regularly attend Shabbat services. Whether you do or do not regularly attend services, we also have numerous events and programs throughout the year ranging from age-appropriate and family-centered events to adult nights out and special interest clubs. These enable you to become more acquainted the community and get to know fellow congregants.
Ohr HaTorah is "trans-denominational" in that our approach reflects and incorporates aspects of several denominations of Judaism.
Our mission is to encourage and to include those who choose Judaism as their faith, religion and spiritual path. We are especially supportive of those that hope of becoming a Jew by choice in the future.
Like those in the Reform and Reconstructionist movements, we believe that Judaism is evolutionary and developmental; we do not believe that Halakha - Jewish law - is the direct will of God. Jews have the responsibility in each generation to add to this development and evolutionary growth.
We do not identify as Reform because of the more traditional nature of our services and our approach to the observance of the tradition. We part with the Reconstructionists on the issue of a personal God - our services, school and adult study are informed by the belief in the reality of God.
As in the Conservative movement, we aim to strike a careful balance between tradition and change. Our services include traditional modes in worship and much Hebrew; our worship service is, however, noticeably shorter than a Conservative service, and we feel a greater latitude in experimenting with certain aspects of the liturgy, unlike most Conservative congregations. Transliterations of many of the prayers are provided.
From the Orthodox movement, we learn unabashed love of God and Torah, as well as a serious devotion to study and Jewish observance. Our services are infused with a Chassidic feel; music and prayer are used to deepen our personal connection to the Holy.