Its rabbi, Mordecai Finley, was named one of the top pulpit rabbis in America by Newsweek magazine.
He’s the only person who’s ever made sense of kabbalah and spirituality for me.
I was a member for three years 1998-2001.
Ohr HaTorah synagogue is trying to raise $3.8 million in the next 45 days in order to purchase a building in Mar Vista as its new home, congregation officials announced April 10.
The nondenominational synagogue, which was founded in 1994 by Rabbis Mordecai and Meirav Finley and a small group of families, now has 300 member families. It currently meets in the Faith Tabernacle Church in West Los Angeles; the church recently decided not to renew the synagogue’s lease.
The building, located on the corner of Venice Boulevard and Barrington Avenue, was the home of Beth Torah, a Conservative congregation that recently merged with Adat Shalom of Westwood. Although the original asking price of the facility was $4.75 million, Ohr HaTorah was able to reach an agreement price of $3.8 million — with the added bonus that the land already is zoned for religious use.
"We are excited to have the opportunity to provide a much needed home for Jewish life in the south Santa Monica/Venice/Mar Vista area," the memo said.
Here’s some back story. About six years ago, Beth Torah was going to merge with Ohr Ha Torah. There was a meeting. A source at Beth Torah told me about Ohr HaTorah: "Half the congregation worships G-d and the other half worships the rabbi." It didn’t work out. Beth Torah croaked.
Ohr HaTorah has been about 300 member families since its inception. It keeps bringing in new blood and it keeps losing people. The temple is run by the rabbi and his wife. He’s an ex-Marine. It’s his way or the highway.
I have no complaints about my time there. I like Rabbi Finley’s way just fine.