Appreciation for OZ

What Members Appreciate About Or Zarua - 2020


Lani S.

I love the inclusiveness, the social justice efforts, and the education provided that not only leads to a better world but broadens my understanding and appreciation.


Barbara C-K.

What I appreciate most about Or Zarua is being part of a sacred community that is just the right size so that each one of us knows everyone in the community and every person counts, every voice is heard. I especially appreciate Rabbi Shelly, who has a unique ability to recognize the special contribution each person can make and to nurture that talent. Thanks to Rabbi Shelly’s efforts, we are truly a co-created community in which each member contributes and is celebrated for what they bring.


Beth B.

There are so many things I treasure about Or Zarua as a spiritual and religious community. Rabbi Shelly is the most authentic, personally connected and grounded Rabbi I have ever had the pleasure to know and worship with. Her capacity to relate to each and every member of her community in an intimate manner is unique and a blessing. Her sermons, Torah portion learnings and the like always leave me exploring deeper concepts both from the perspective of Judaism, and existential and practical questions of life. And her concept of a co-constructed community brings us all together in a manner which honors everyone's unique talents and skills and this imbues each service or event with a singular quality. Poetic, spiritual, sacred, musical, connected, caring, inspired, expansive, intellectually and aesthetically stimulating, Tikkun Olam - these are just a few of the words/phrases that also describe the qualities of Or Zarua. Come join our family!


Tammy F.

The many thoughtful offerings. The sense of community. Couldn’t ask for a better Rabbi! 


Barbara E.

Or Zarua is a warm, spiritual home led by Rabbi Shelly and her wisdom, as well as with thoughtful, caring members. It combines Reconstructionist services with a variety of creative activities led by our members.


Debby S-S.

I appreciate the "holding in the light" of each member and who they are, and encouraging their participation in the community in ways that reflect their spiritual and personal passions....

I appreciate the co-constructionist model of community and leadership that Rabbi Shelly has embodied - her authenticity, compassion, and humanity which sets the stage for all of us to receive and give in kind.


Esther and Bern S.

Clearly, our belonging to Or Zarua has enriched our lives. Through Rabbi Shelly Barnathan’s warm presence, compassion and guidance in reaching for our “better selves,” we are inspired.

In the community that has emerged we find comfort, shared values and deep appreciation for many talents and welcoming spirits.

We’ve found a peacefulness in joining together for musical Kabbalat Shabbat. Ever evolving are new offerings for learning, for growing , for pleasure. Or Zarua possesses a vibrancy, as our community responds to needs of our larger environs and our world.

Arnie F.

At Or Zarua, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The feeling of community working together is prime. I appreciate our:

1. Shabbat Services- A time for prayer, discussion, and socialization. A time when individual members contribute to the service, which Reb Shel leads with prayer, song and reflections.

2. Our Tikkun Olam efforts - Establishing funds to purchase food from local establishments which we distribute to ICU workers at Lankenau to show our appreciation for their work.

3. Our community celebrations - Opportunities for members to cook, create, and enjoy together. e.g. Purim - The food, the spiel, and eating together. A most lively time.

Steve S.

I appreciate the relatively informal atmosphere of the congregation. I especially appreciate the way we support each other... No one is more important than the other at Or Zarua.


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