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 who would share their vision for Jewish life, one that is devoted to Torah study and encourages personal and spiritual development, while exploring Jewish thought and observing the Jewish calendar with passion, intellectual rigor and creativity.
Non-affiliated, Ohr HaTorah, now mainly online, continues to inspire Jewish practice and celebration in the lives of many in the Los Angeles area as well as around the globe.
Ohr HaTorah continues to maintain its unique reputation through Shabbat study and classes with Rabbi Mordecai Finley, whose exemplary leadership, erudition, spiritual depth, and renowned teaching and abilities have attracted diverse participants and great following.
Rabbi Finley is known for his approach to studying text mainly through his weekly Shabbat morning teaching on the Torah portion. Rabbi Finley is also known for developing Wisdom Work, a unique method for cultivating inner life, insight and transformation in one's personal life and relationships. The Rabbi's Wisdom Work method offers a hands on guide for spiritual practice in pursuing a virtuous life of wisdom and conscious living. It is an approach that has transformed and continues to transform people's lives.
Ohr HaTorah, an online (and in-person) synagogue, is dedicated to creating a warm and embracing community of members who are devoted to the study of Torah and Jewish wisdom.
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 our online Friday night and Shabbat morning broadcasts for inspiration and Jewish connection through study and liturgical music. We encourage you to do so, as attendance allows members of the community to interact on a regular basis, while providing us with the opportunity to connect with your community.
In addition to Shabbat study and observance, we also hold events and programs throughout the year. These programs range from age-appropriate and family-centered meet-ups to adult nights out and special interest clubs. These enable members to become more acquainted with the community as a group and individually.
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.