About Us

Makom Ohr Shalom was founded in 1978 by Rabbi Ted Falcon, who served as our spiritual leader for fifteen years (scroll down to see a video). During that time, we grew from a small group, which met in living rooms, to a larger group in a place of worship in Encino; we sub-lease from our wonderful friends at Bethel Lutheran Church.

Makom Ohr Shalom is unique in many ways: featuring meditation, chanting and storytelling; our services blend aspects of ancient Jewish mystical tradition with creative, contemporary forms of worship. Members participate out of genuine desire rather than a sense of obligation.

In addition to our twice a month services and special events we also reach out to the community at-large, conducting Shabbat services at local nursing homes and supporting a variety of charitable causes.

The Makom Ohr Shalom Choir performs at High Holy Day services and throughout the year.

We do not have any paid administrative staff. Day-to-day operations and long-term planning are the responsibility of the Shomrim (directors). We encourage our members to volunteer when they can.

What is Jewish Renewal

Jewish Renewal is a transdenominational approach to revitalizing Judaism.

We combine the socially progressive values of egalitarianism, the joy of Hasidism, the informed do-it-yourself spirit of the havurah movement, and the accumulated wisdom of centuries of tradition.

We value deep ecumenism; in Hillel’s words, we learn from every person and spiritual tradition. We create innovative, accessible, and welcoming prayer experiences.

We shape halacha (Jewish law) into a living way of walking in the world.

And, we seek to deepen the ongoing, joyful, and fundamental connection, with a God who connects us all, which is at the heart of Jewish practice.

Renewal is an attitude, not a denomination, and offers tools to all branches of Judaism, including:

  • An emphasis on accessible spiritual experience;
  • Contemplative practices (Jewish Renewal teachers were the first to recover meditative practices from the dusty attic of Jewish tradition, and to return them to their rightful place as central Jewish spiritual technologies);
  • Davvenology, the art and practice of being a living laboratory for creative and renewed Jewish prayer, in modalities including chant and embodied prayer;
  • Sage-ing, trainings and tools for rethinking aging as a journey of unearthing wisdom;
  • Hashpa’ah (spiritual direction) as a tool for unpacking the holy potential of every moment and for discerning the voice of God.
  • Renewal seeks to balance forward-thinking with backward-compatibility. We know we can’t drive if we’re only looking in the rear-view mirror, but neither can we move forward if we don’t know where we’ve been.

Mission Statement

Makom Ohr Shalom is a Jewish Renewal congregation focusing on spiritual, mystical, meditative and healing traditions of Judaism. We seek to enhance and renew our personal and collective relationship with HaShem through joyful music, prayer and Torah study, within a warm and supportive community. We provide a loving home for heart, spirit and body.

Message to Guests and Supporters of Makom Ohr Shalom

Are you on the path in life that you choose to be on? Do you find joy in the traditions of your ancestors? Do you understand the meaning of the prayers you are saying? Do you want to know what the rituals mean, and why we celebrate Jewish holidays? Are you the best person you can be, and how can you attain the spiritual growth that you seek?

These are only a few of the questions that I asked myself before finding Jewish Renewal and Makom Ohr Shalom. Many of us were raised in a secular or traditional home that did not address these questions and you may be asking some of the same questions.

The answers are to be found inside you. With the spiritual guidance of wonderful teachers at Makom Ohr Shalom, and a group of loving people to support you, you may find your answers as I did. Come and see for yourself! Many of us are on an incredible spiritual journey, and hope to share it with you.

There are no outsiders at Makom. Everyone is welcome to join us on our journey of growth. We are a spiritual community, continuing to renew ourselves after 37 years. Our clergy and teachers share the wisdom and traditions of our sages and prophets, in an exciting and contemporary way that is inviting and inclusive.

We invite you to join us for Tikkun Olam, to heal the world, as well as ourselves. Our tradition teaches us that there is one true G-d, known by many names throughout history. Please join us at Makom Ohr Shalom to explore the wisdom and beauty of the Torah through joy, shared experiences, ancient and contemporary traditions, healing of body and soul, lasting friendships, mitzvot, meditation, learning from our clergy and spiritual leaders and wonderful uplifting music.

One of my favorite beliefs is not “when you see it you will believe it”, but rather “when you believe it you will see it”. There are future generations that are waiting to know the legacy left to us by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, the founder of Jewish Renewal; he is probably the most incredible Rabbi that was ever sent to teach us.

–Ellie Belilove

Membership Information

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Special Thanks

Special Thanks to:
Dr. Jack Lin for his many years of love and support.

All of the past and present Board Members that contributed their love, time and energy to Makom Ohr Shalom, we send a special “Thank You.”
Larry and Cindy Greenberg for their generous donation to create this website.

Theresa Nivon for her many years of contributing to the beautiful music of Makom, and leading the choir with love.