After 15 years of renting space in community churches and a middle school, the Ohr HaTorah congregation is moving into an existing synagogue in Mar Vista.
The 300-member congregation, self-described as traditional and progressive, is relocating from the Faith Tabernacle Church at the corner of Purdue Avenue and Olympic Boulevard in West Los Angeles to a synagogue at 11827 Venice Blvd., west of Barry Avenue in Mar Vista.
The congregation plans to enter its new location Friday, August 8th, with morning study and services scheduled to begin at 8:45 a.m. Saturday, August 9th.
The existing synagogue building was the former home of Conservative Beth Torah, which recently merged with Adat Shalom. The building is well-suited for the congregation, as it has two
stories, a sanctuary, administrative offices, numerous classrooms, a library, a kitchen, a dining hall and an outdoor patio, a congregation spokesman notes.
“We envision a true center for Jewish life — one that will become the home base of our spiritual learning, Jewish education, culture, community action and fellowship,” said Rabbi Mordecai Finley.
For nearly two decades, Finley has taught ongoing spirituality courses, which will now be offered primarily at the new syna- gogue. Ohr HaTorah will continue to hold High Holy Day services at the Wilshire Ebell Theater, as those services require space large enough to accommodate about 1,000 people.
“Acquiring this property has secured the future of our congregation,” said the rebbetzin (wife of the rabbi), Meirav Finley, who is also the executive director of Ohr HaTorah. “And most importantly, the synagogue provides Rabbi Finley and our staff with an appropriate and conventional venue where the larger community of Los Angeles can benefit from the rabbi’s unique teachings and approach to Judaism.”
Meirav Finley, who led the fundraising effort, attributes the generosity of the members to their support of the vision for the synagogue — a focus on spirituality and the moral life.
She added, “Working with the first-rate and professional real estate, construction and design team involved in this transaction is a great privilege. Investing time and expertise to transform the building into a true center for Jewish life and learning is our next goal.”
Congregation members said plans are in the works for phased, but significant renovations over the next couple of years, and the first services are slated for Friday night, August 8th, followed by Shabbat morning, August 9th. Preparations have also begun to enhance the congregation’s programming, made possible by the new space.
New offerings planned include Friday night services, early childhood programs, community and social events and an adult education program.
The purchase of the new building was made possible through several major gifts and donations from congregation members and friends.
Information, www.ohrhatorah .org/.