San Fernando Valley Shul Reviews

Beis Midrash Toras HaShem (O); 12422 Chandler Blvd, Valley Village, CA 91607; Phone 818-980-6934; http://torashashem.blogspot.com

Prayer: B+
Friendliness: C+
Food: B
Singles: D
Decor: B
Average Age of membership: 40.

Misc: Good kiddish and decent childcare. The shul is comprised of a few young married couples with mostly middle age couples and a few "alter cockers". People are generally friendly but not overly so. If you need a place for Shabbos dinner or lunch speak with the Rabbi or Gabbai. Was mainly a Kiruv shul over the last 25+ years but is moving away from that. Would be Centrist Orthodox at best. There are still a fair amount of learning opportunities for those that are interested. The shul may be officially changing into a Young Israel of Valley Village. Stay Tuned.

Adat Yeshurun Valley Sephardic (O);  12405 Sylvan St,  North Hollywood, CA 91606; Phone (818) 766-4682Prayer: B
Friendliness: C
Food: B
Singles: ?
Decor: B
Average Age of membership: 40.

Misc: Typical Moroccan Sephardic shul. If you’re ashkenazi it’s not for you. A nice mix of young and old people attend.

Shaarei Yerushalayim (O); 12435 Chandler Blvd, Valley Village, CA 91607; Phone 818-980-9278

Prayer: B-
Friendliness: C-
Food: B
Singles: ?
Decor: B
Average Age of membership: 40.

Misc: Typical Israeli Sephardic shul. If you’re ashkenazi it’s not for you. Smaller intimate minyan on weekdays. A large number of Israelis.

Joe emails:

Your shul reviewer is about as useful as tits on a bull when it comes to Toras Hashem. TH is the old original aish that Rabbi Block founded. It was burned down about 20 years ago and rebuilt into a fairly decent structure that is there toda. Rabbi Block has changed many lives through that shul, but he is definitely slowing down. I had heard that TH had received a substantial bequest from a congregant that would ensure its finances for a long time.

All of Rabbi Block’s kids are adults and all but one are married – he has the mind and the affect of a superstar – his pedigree is from the Mir under the grand Rabbi Shmuelevit, but the force in Rabbi Block is weaker than it once was.

It is a shul mainly for people who do not like Shaarey Zedek, but given that about 98% of the valley pisses on Shaarey Tzedek, there is a lot of competition for the disaffected and those who think SZ sucks can daven under Rabbi Eidlitz at Emek or even at the 8;15 minyan at SZ itself and harbor disdain for SZ.

As for a change to Young Israel of Valley Village, give me a break. If any shul opens in the valley without a right wing black hat rabbi, Obama Barack along with that [naughty language I can no longer publish] wife of his will be invited to a communal seder. The shul board and Rabbi approved the switch to YI. Rav Block will retire and make aliyah in the future (could be anytime) so they are planning for a future without him. Yes it would be a big loss and the community as a whole will suffer…

Valley Village is so right wing right now that a Young Israel trying to be tolerant of newcomers and succeeding would be like nailing jello to a tree. The only group that might leave SZ are the right wing greaseball types that might take Rabbi Edelstein and try to rent some space on Burbank and Whitsett. True the Ashkenaz community in Valley Village is becoming more right wing but not Hareidi by any means. There are still a lot of undecided people in the community that tolerate SZ but deep down despise it or go to Valley Torah or else where for now.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
This entry was posted in Synagogue and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.