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who we are


We are Or Shalom (Light of Peace) Jewish Community. Or Shalom is a warm and welcoming community united in the desire to support one another and mend the world through individual awakening, social action, and the pursuit of social justice. In our approach to Judaism, we are committed to deep mutual acceptance, progressive values, the spirit of questioning, and a dynamic balance of tradition and innovation.

We welcome all walks of life: Jewish, non-Jewish and "it’s complicated," straight, gay and "it’s complicated," single, married and "it’s complicated," old, and young and in-between.

We bring the joy and collaborative beat of music to everything we do, starting and finishing most meetings, services and classes with melodies or song.

We are a Jewish Reconstructionist community, tasked with making Judaism relevant to our times while respecting the traditions of our ancestors. As Reconstructionists like to say, "The past gets a vote, not a veto."

We seek to bring meaning to ritual, Torah, and commandments as we look at Judaism through a progressive and contemporary lens.

We act with loving-kindness toward one another and all who enter, to create a sense of belonging for every person.

We are a learning community for young and old, committed to reflection, questioning, and listening.

We engage with one another intellectually, spiritually, musically, and joyfully. 

our history

Or Shalom began with a group of San Franciscans who wanted a Judaism for their children that would teach peace, welcome interfaith families and allow diverse, questioning voices to be heard. From our founders’ aspirations came the name Or Shalom, Light of Peace.

In the beginning, our founding rabbi, Pam Frydman, taught classes for children in members’ living rooms. The shul’s principle, revolutionary at the time, was that attendance should be a child’s free choice. Religious school could not be required by the parents.

Over the next few years, a more formal organization for the community developed, and Or Shalom incorporated in 1991. At the outset, much of our liturgy was inspired by the Jewish Renewal movement. We met for services in members’ homes, a practice we maintain with our monthly Friday night service, the Traveling Shabbat. Over the years, we rented space from Synergy School, Noe Valley Ministry, St. John’s United Church of Christ and Congregation Ner Tamid.

Rabbi Katie Mizrahi joined us in 2007, leading our services with prayer, drash, drumming, chanting and singing. Our members voted to affiliate with the Reconstructionist denomination in 2008. In February 2014, we moved to our current home on Brotherhood Way. We carried our Torah scrolls beneath the ceremonial chuppah built by our children, singing our way across the Sunset District for the 2-mile hike to the building we now share with Congregation Beth Israel Judea.

Or Shalom continues to evolve, but our founding principles are very much with us. In our religious school, children from toddlers to high school age still affirm their choice to attend. Our services are still filled with music, and we continue to seek a Judaism that makes our lives richer and our world more peaceful.

Thu, March 30 2023 8 Nisan 5783