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Open Dor Project Spring Roundup

Updated: Apr 3, 2019

It's just a little over two weeks until Pesach, and haggadot, plague finger puppets, and ping-pong ball hail are just starting to reappear in homes and communities all across the country.

Before your Passover prep kicks into full gear, take a moment to check out what Open Dor Project communities have been up to this spring. There's something here for everyone––from podcasts to essays to intriguing interviews––all featuring the dynamic spiritual leaders and communities that are powering the renewal of Jewish spirit nationwide.

Happy Spring and Happy (early) Pesach-

The Open Dor Project Team


Open Temple

Venice, CA

00:01 - 15:32: Lori Schneide Shapiro begins this episode by telling the story of a Jewish journey that started from scratch. As someone who began with very little Jewish knowledge and eventually came to her Jewish identity through the arts, Schneide Sharpio founded the organization “Open Temple.” Founded in Venice, CA, as a way of reaching Jews on the periphery, [1] Open Temple seeks to integrate spirituality, music, and arts into Jewish ritual.

15:33 - 29:26: Schneide Shapiro discusses how Open Temple seeks to meet certain unmet Jewish needs, creating a space for “weavers” who can make connections between Jewish people and the arts. She describes an Open Temple Yom Kippur service involving a Rolling Stones song blended with liturgy, multimedia performance, and a former antisemitic “life after hate” member seeking forgiveness as an example of teshuva for our modern political moment. [2] The conversation turns to use of digital media in Judaism and questions about the integration of digital media into Jewish experiences. Schneide Shapiro says that using screens and digital media in ritual is another way that Jews are interacting with contemporary American culture, just as Jews have always done with their surrounding cultures.

As the days grow longer, the signs of spring have sprung: oblong sliding ponds of light well into the early evening; bottlebrush and coral trees blossoming throughout Los Angeles; daylight breeding a giddy insouciance upon us; and that life-breeding tug to the beach to watch a sunset, our skin warmed by the penetrating rays.  And yet – something feels, well, off.  Where is our freedom holiday, that harbinger of springtime in the Jewish calendar? 


The Well Detroit, MI

Our first ever two-night retreat, Re//turning: A Jewish Spirituality Retreat, was a huge success!  With support from Moishe House, participants enjoyed mindfulness meditations, arts and writing stations, yoga, Kabbalah studies, and alternative prayer experiences, with the help of Rabbi Benjamin Shalva and Rabbi Paul Yedwab!

The area’s youngest rabbis collaborate on innovative Shabbat experience geared toward young adults.

By Stacy Gittleman, Contributing Writer

Horwitz said the Feb. 8 service, geared to those 40 and younger, is not rooted in any one siddur but will have the “arc” of a traditional Kabbalat Shabbat service with participants sitting in concentric circles. “The evening will be completely collaborative,” Horwitz said. “We are excited to bring some of the best practices on the coasts to Detroit and are crafting a non-denominational spiritual experience. And, if it works, we will surely do it again.” Continue Reading

Looking to connect with other awesome folks? We have over 40 Shared Interest Groups meeting monthly! Email our Community Manager, Avery Drongowski, to learn more!



Queens, NY

Celebrating Purim Co-hosted by Malkut, Solomon Schechter School of Queens, and PJ Library in New York

Malkhut's monthly Shabbat morning gathering in Jackson Heights

On Friday March 25th, a group of us from Malkhut, JCRC of New York, and other faith communities in Queens showed up at Al-Khoei Foundation, a giant Shia Muslim Community Center in Jamaica, Queens, in a solidarity effort organized by UJA Federation of New York. Expecting to stand outside with our signs of solidarity with the Muslim community, we were instead welcomed inside during prayers and were invited to share a meal and dialogue afterwards. I look forward to continuing this warm relationship and am so grateful for the beautiful hospitality we received.



Chicago, IL

We are Open to the Community

March 15, 2019 By eJP

By Rabbi David Minkus and Rabbi Ari Moffic

We have noticed that many Jewish adults who are trying to describe their Jewishness go to a negative place first. They see themselves as the proverbial “bad Jew” as opposed to being proud and confident about their Jewish identity and expression. The reasons for this are varied but are often based on the premise that we aren’t doing enough. We don’t observe the commandments, we don’t belong to synagogues, we don’t know Hebrew or the prayers, we aren’t Jewishly literate. We aren’t interested in religious Judaism.

Ironically, one of the central aspects of Judaism, that of community, is simultaneously the top of the list of what people say they love about Judaism and is also a main culprit of making them feel like bad Jews. People don’t see themselves as in a community or contributing to a Jewish community, and they are blamed by leaders as hurting “the community.” They are choosing individualism over community, rabbis say. Continue Reading

What is Cohere into? The Purim story! ... creatively.


Jewish Studio Project

Berkeley, CA

"In a time when our world feels so broken, it can be healing, empowering, and resilience-building to create. To do something tactile with our hands, and really embody that value of “what else could this be”? To say, “Wow, there is a mess here - what else could this mess be?”. To practice this with materials makes it feel more possible to make actual change. It is a powerful reminder that mess can be transformed." Read the Interview Here

Read Bec's impact story where she reflects on her Studio Immersive experience (which she attended with her mother) and how her spiritual practice has been impacted. She has even started to weave JSP’s approach into the way she leads her beit midrash (house of study) in Philadelphia!

JSP with Berkeley Hillel Students

Making Space for Mystery


Parshat Shemini (Leviticus 9:1-11:47)

Rabbi Adina Allen

Aaron’s first role as High Priest is to make the inaugural sacrifice on the newly-completed altar. Moses commands Aaron to offer up—amongst other animals—an egel (calf) to atone for himself and the people. That Moses commands the sacrifice of an egel is curious. Rather than a par (bull), as Leviticus 4:3 dictates for this kind of purification offering, Aaron is told to sacrifice an egel. Nowhere else in Torah is an egel mentioned as a sacrificial animal, making this all the more notable. Continue Reading




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