Or Zarua is a co-constructed Jewish spiritual community, founded in 2017 and led by Reconstructionist Rabbi Shelly Barnathan, centering on the concept of B’tzelem Elohim/being created in the image of G-d. At Or Zarua, we lift up the qualities, skills, and talents of each person, allowing each person to be known, cared for, and honored in authentic, supportive community.
Or Zarua is an LGBTQ and Jews of Color inclusive community. Social Justice initiatives and interfaith work with our local partners are central to our holy work. The Or Zarua community provides each participant with a safe, appreciative environment in which each person’s inner Or/Light can shine, allowing and encouraging the inner Or/Light of others to shine as well.
Located in the western suburbs of Philadelphia, the mission of Or Zarua is to access the Or/light in each one of us through living our Jewish values. As we access our own light, we sow/plant light in others and perform the holy work of Tikkun Olam in the world.
Rabbi Shelly Barnathan is a 2015 graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. As a child of Holocaust survivors and raised in a Modern Orthodox home, Rabbi Shelly possesses roots that are firmly planted in Jewish prayer, text, and practice. Rabbi Shelly is a "seeker", taking the traditional roots of Judaism and planting seeds of light into the world through acts of Tikkun Olam/Social Justice as well as creative Jewish practices such as chant, meditation, poetry, and song. It is Rabbi Shelly’s greatest wish to accompany members of the Or Zarua community on their personal Jewish journeys, helping each person to find the Or/light within each one of us, so that we can bring more light to our world, so in need of our care.