By Sandy P.R Management Specialist
Temple Beth ohr Jewish Reform Synagogue
15721 Rosecrans ave, La Mirada, Ca. 90638
I attended a Jewish synagogue Friday, November 11, (6:00pm I arrived, like a hour and a half early ) for there weekly Shabbat service that started at 7:30 pm. I met with Rabbi Mark Goldfarb he invited me to join him & his people to join them for there service and a gathering at the end for some wine,bread ,cake,appetizers and fellowship.
I was given a tag with my name on it, It was yellow to show the other members I was new I was a guest, I was welcomed by everyone I walked by or walked by me. The temple was very simple very lightly decorated with a star of David painted on the outside corner wall (star of David Jewish symbol) no big signs with the name of the temple on the outside. The temple looked like a very humble temple the people were very welcoming and humble. The people and the rabbi showed me around the temple before and after the service. I saw these prayer shalls that the orthodox Jewish temples people wear, In the reform synagogue which is where I attended it’s mostly worn when reading from the Tora (tora jewish bible) the shalls had beautiful embroidery with prayers along the sides men and women can wear These shalls, The reason I mention men and women can wear it, is that in a orthodox temple things are more strictly done as in some temples women and men sit apart they still follow the rules from a thousand years ago. In this reform temple the rabbi is more relaxed and so are the people, I didn’t know what to expect worried if I would make some mistakes or insult there culture, but it was a very relaxed environment.
Shabbat to the Jewish people is there day of rest and family time, they attend there service on Friday and Shabbat starts Saturday, on that day they don’t work, they rest and enjoy a family dinner, which is called the Shabbat dinner. I spoke to the rabbit and ask “why do you have the service on Friday, when Shabbat starts Saturday ” he explained that long ago the rabbis had a hard time to be able to follow there rules in the case that it means no work and rest, and since a rabbis job is the service for Shabbat, and to not work on Saturday they moved there service to Friday night to be able to keep with Shabbat customs. (I asked the rabbi if I could take photos during the services he said it would be distracting, so I didn’t take photos of the services but in there Facebook page there’s photos of the nights events.)
On this day the rabbit mark told me it was a extra special service they would be having a baby naming ceremony for a baby named Gabriella Rose Kaplan, (daughter of Heather and David). They would be giving her, her Jewish name, given to her by her family, her Jewish name is now Rivkah Shoshanah bat. (David u’Ma’ayan Shoshanah) it was a very beautiful service, the baby was very well behaved, it was a very beautiful family.
Also on this day they were having a service of remembrance for family and friends who had died over the year, the Rabbi showed me in the temple they had a remembrance wall with plaques with names of loved ones who had died, with little round lights next to each name. some where lit up, The rabbi said “the plaques with the lit up lights where the people that they are remembering in there service that night”. the people working in the temple handed me a flyer with all the names of the family they were honoring that night. In addition they had another remembrance wall outside there temple with bricks with names on it.
In addition they where honoring the United States veterans on Veterans Day. It was very beautiful They had a lot of veterans as members of there temple. it was very interesting seeing all the different veterans, the staff at the temple took lots of photos and posted them on there Facebook page (Temple Beth ohr Facebook ) My friend and I apper in the photos on there Facebook page. I took with me a friend to the temple to keep me company that happen to be a Veteran and it was sweet to see them honor him as well.
The Rabbi Mark Goldfarb has a daughter name Ariel Goldfarb, (Cantorial Soloist) join him during the service they called her the cantor. she was singing in Hebrew and English it was very beautiful from what I learn a cantor can do everything a rabbi dose except marry people. I spoke to her and she says a cantor and rabbi differences is a rabbi goes to school and the cantor is studying.
I was given so many flyers and papers to learn about there services and temple in addition they have a school to learn about Judaism. They gave us a Yamaka (Yamaka Jewish male skull cap ) for my male friend to wear in the temple and I was given a Jewish calendar as well. They had a souvenir shop as well it was very interesting the items they were selling.
At the end of the services we were ask to join them for refreshments and the fellowship they were passing out Jewish wine, one wines was very strong another wine which was the sweet wine they called juice all I heard was juice and was looking for the juice as we were toasting I took a sip and it wasn’t juice I learn the hard way, but it was very interesting they had cake to celebrate the baby and a man on his wedding anniversary the fellowship was very interesting very nice people very open I had lots of nice people come up to me and talk to me and very welcoming and kept inviting me to more services we stay and spoke to people until almost 10 pm.
The sign on the corner of the court yard facing the street
The front side of the temple very simple humble sign name of the temple
One of the corner sides of the temple a very humble Star of David painted on the temple outside
Around the corner on another wall near the entrance outside they had this wall of bricks of remembrance
And this is me at the wall doing a selfie as I explored the outside of the temple before heading inside for the services (unlucky for me apple hasn’t made a front facing flash for the camera)
As I enter I am greeted by the souvenir shop and a women running the temple Susan (not pictured)
Tribute wall with various plagues honoring members of the congregation the Hebrew letters form the Hebrew word shaddai, one of the biblical names for GOD The letter style and shape are repeated on the ark doors in the sanctuary
I saw this beautiful painting of the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve
The Ten Commandments on old fabric frame up near the entrance of the sanctuary
Men should wear a yamaka before entering the sanctuary the skull cap has evolved over the years it is wore for respect of GOD wore in temple some Jewish males wear it all the time. they leave a basket on the outside for those that don’t have there own they can barrow one
In Hebrew on the sides is written prayers on the shalls men and women can wear These I only witness the rabbi and his daughter wear them and one other member of the temple wearing it you don’t have to wear it unless your reading from the tora (Jewish bible)
The basket of Yamakas and prayer shalls at the entrance of the sanctuary
Jewish prayer book & song book do not confuse this for the Jewish bible it was under the seat in front of you in the sanctuary Hebrew books are read from right to left so it was a little odd reading and opening the book
One page in the Jewish prayer book I enjoy
Sanctuary and seats with prayer books under each one
The sanctuary from another angle there is also three broads on the wall with plaques with red lights on it that’s the remembrance wall of the dead the lights next to each name that are lit up are the people being remembered
A close up look at the remembrance wall with the plaques and the lighted up names
A member of the temple made this art work up this was given to the temple to remember people from the holocaust the number in the arm is a real I.D number of a prisoner of the holocaust and a member of the temple this was a gift given to the temple
At the start of the service they had a lighting of the candle prayers the parents of the baby in the baby naming ceremony did a prayer and lit the candles together
Behind these white curtains they kept the tora (Jewish bible) during the service a few times I wintness the rabbi open and closed the curtains and prayed and face and bowed to the toras the cantor would sing and face and bow at the toras along with members of the temple bowed at the knees and then at the waist
At the end of the service I spoke to the rabbi and he showed me the toras he open the curtains for me open up the tora he says the tora isn’t used at every service so it was special he took them out for me to photograph them and exam them there made of animal skin there rolled up and protected
As he explains to me about the tora rabbi mark says in the tora there isn’t any names no chapter numbers no page numbers no titles every rabbi reads from the same part around the world and they unroll some portion read from that spot once they get to the end they start all over the unroll it in the temple and roll it back up to start again
Picture Rabbi Mark Goldfarb
holding the tora before he opens it and shows it to me
Wine and bread the oneg (reception) kiddush tray featuring kiddush wine (a sweet wine) “not juice” and slice challah (braided egg bread) with which begin the oneg
A little gift I came home with Jewish calendar
All the flyers and papers I was given in the temple