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Reaching Out to Invite You In

Our History

Thoughts by Founding Music Director, Jack Bielan

Valley Outreach Synagogue and Center for Jewish Life is an iconic congregation founded in 1986 with a unique mission among Los Angeles Jewish institutions. It was to open a wide and welcoming door to Jewish life. . .a loving, holy space where anyone, regardless of prior experience, knowledge, orientation or ability to pay, could feel equal and safe to worship, defining and rediscovering their Jewish identity and their personal relationship with God.

For more than thirty years we were a synagogue without a building, fulfilling the dream of founding rabbis Richard Schachet, of blessed memory, and Jerry Fisher and myself, to celebrate family and community, individual growth and contribution, creativity, inclusion, and to offer an impassioned blend of outreach, tradition and innovation. We were the first congregation to hold an annual 12-Step Gratitude Meeting at the Yom Kippur break, the first L.A. synagogue to host Shabbat services with gospel music, and the first L.A. congregation at which a woman chanted "Kol Nidre." Along the way we donated thousands of pounds of food to local women's shelters and food pantries, created a revolutionary home-based Jewish education program (JEWELS) which is now being adopted by synagogues throughout the country, sent a quarter-million rations to U.S. troops overseas, implemented dozens of programs for the betterment of our community and raised funds for new ambulances to be sent to Israel.

Under the blessed leadership of Rabbi Ron Li-Paz, Rebbetzin Bronwen Li-Paz and Chaplain Jennifer Nye, we now meet in our very own beautiful Center For Jewish Life in Calabasas, where we continue to fulfill and enlarge upon the founders’ vision with the same passion and love as in 1986.

1986 LA Times article: "Rosh Hashanah to Put Maverick Rabbi to the Test"

2017 Jewish Journal article: "Valley Outreach Synagogue Home at Last"

 

Our Founders

Rabbi Richard Schachet                                             Steve Garelick
Rabbi Jerry Fisher                                                         Suzi & Stan Taub & Family
Music Director Jack Bielan                                       Rose Horkin
Cantor Joel Siegal                                                         Debbi DuVal
Sheri Montrose                                                              Janis & Bob Andres
Bob Farnum                                                                    Phyllis Italianer
Ruth & Bernie Saul                                                       Toby & Laura Kaplan
Steve Herman                                                                 Don & Mickey Bilsky & Family
Lydia Saxton-Cox                                                         Marty Frank
Adrienne & Milt Morris                                              Sedwyn & Sanford Glick

Wed, November 13 2019 15 Cheshvan 5780