January 17, 2011                                                        20 Adar I  5771
Friday, February7:30 pm. Our final Friday Night in the Sanctuary.
With a unique Service of Decommissioning, we prepare the sanctuary for its upcoming remodel. Pre-Bar Mitzvah honoring Alex Stark.

Saturday, February 19, Shabbat Morning Service, 10:00 am. The entire congregation is invited as Alex Stark is called to the Torah as a Bar Mitzvah.
Friday, February 25, Adult Study Shabbat at Bay Laurel Elementary School (24740 Paseo Primario, Calabasas) 
 7:30 pm.  Guest speaker, Rabbi Denise L. Eger of Congregation Kol Ami (West Hollywood) on "Civil Rights in Our Time: Marriage Equality and Why It is a Jewish Issue." Wine and cheese social hour at 6:30 pm. Pre-B'nai Mitzvah honoring Max Wiviott and Jessica Glassberg.
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Top 4 Benefits of Becoming Wandering Jews Again     
  • Join us for our final service before we remodel, this Friday, Feb. 17th at 7:30 pm. 


Congregation Or Ami Seder in the Wilderness Campfire serviceThis Sunday, Congregation Or Ami once again become wandering Jews.  We will move out of our Mureau Road sanctuary to remodel and expand our sacred home.  While we will have comfortable enough office/learning space in the Liberty Canyon location (27489 Agoura Road, 3rd Floor, Agoura Hills), we will nonetheless gather for Shabbat services in a variety of different locations. Having lived almost seven years in our Mureau Road Synagogue, we at Or Ami now return to the wanderings of our community's youth.  We will experience challenges and joys, kvetches (complaints) and kvells (moments of pride). 


We hope that we will rediscover the wonders of wilderness wandering:

  1. A rededication to Torah: Why was Torah given in the wilderness? Because just as a wilderness is ownerless and available to everyone, so the Torah is not the domain of an elite few but rather is available for anyone who wishes to come and partake of it.  May we all find meaning in the Torah.
  2. A deepening of our spiritual search: Why was Torah given in the wilderness? So that no place can say that God favors one place over another. May we create sacred moments wherever we gather.
  3. A reminder that God is everywhere: Why was the ladder by which Jacob met God found in the wilderness? Because God, who is known as "HaMakom" (The Place), exists in EVERY place. May we find holiness at home, in backyards, at work, and out in nature.
  4. A recommitment to community: Why wasn't the Mishkan (moveable sanctuary in the desert) built immediately after the Israelites left Egypt? To teach that more important than any building are the qualities (warmth, compassion, giving) of the community that dwells within. Raba taught that when people open themselves to everyone like a wilderness, God gives them the light of Torah. (Babylonian Talmud Nedarim 55a.)  May we find the light through our Henaynu caring for each other.


In addition, teaches Rabbi Shlomo Goldman, when one gives a gift, the quality of the wrapping paper and other trappings that are required is inversely proportional to the quality or value of the gift itself. 


The Torah and the community of Or Ami are the greatest gifts. Over these next months, without the trappings of a beautiful sanctuary, may the light of Torah and of Or Ami guide us in our wanderings, support us in our spiritual search, and bring us back together regularly and often. 


  • Join us for our final service before the remodel, this Friday, Feb. 17th at 7:30 pm.
  • Our next service on Friday, Feb. 24th will be held in Bay Laurel Elementary School's Multipurpose Room in Calabasas.


Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Paul Kipnes
Congregation Or Ami

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