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Or Ahavah is a welcoming community dedicated to personal transformation and healing the world through Jewish practice.

Upcoming Services and Events

  • 2017 the Alternative Yom Kippur… a Spiritual Retreat

    Join Congregation Or Ahavah for a day of reflection and transformation at a beautiful retreat center on the Hillsborough River.
    Experience the true meaning of the holiest of days – a time to re- turn to your authentic self, a time for second chances….


    Friday, Sept. 29 and Saturday Sept. 30, 2017


    Franciscan Retreat Center
    3010 N. Perry Ave.
    Tampa, Florida 33603-5345



    4:00 pm – Preparatory Meditation
    5:15 pm – Dinner (fish/vegetarian meal)
    6:15 pm – Kol Nidre and Evening Services


    8:30 am – Qi-gong, 30-45 minutes
    9:30 am- Services throughout day with rest periods
    7:17 pm – Havdallah and full Break the Fast Meal


    • Yom Kippur services with spiritual integration
    • Kol Nidre and Experiential Services
    • Meditation and Prayer
    • Drumming and Chanting
    • Meal before Kol Nidre and Break the Fast Meal after Sundown

    Creative Rosh HaShanah Services Celebrate the Cosmic Gift of a New Beginning!


    Wednesday, 09/20/2017 7: 00 p. m.
    Amazing Blessing Seder,
    Thursday, 09/21/2017 10:30 a.m.
    Morning Services including Tashlich followed by Vegetarian/Dairy pot luck lunch


    Services will be held at the Sabbath House at the Franciscan Center , 3010 North Perry Ave, Tampa 33603


    Registration ans fees attached

    For further information, contact Rabbi Debrah Shenefelt at 813.728.3194 or orahavah.org

    Download the attached REGISTRATION flyer below for more info:

    High Holiday Registration 2017 (PDF)

  • Passover Seder – Monday 04/10/17

    Passover Seder First Night
    Joyous, Deep and Meaningful Vegan Friendly; Fish Available

    When: Monday, 04/10/17

    Time: Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Seder begins at 6:45 p.m.

    Where: Location given upon reservation

    Cost: $18 Members and Seniors, $36 Adult Guest, $6 Children under 13, $15 Students

    RSVP: by 04/01/17 Your check is your reservation.
    Make checks payable to Or Ahavah and mail to:

    Barbara Freedland
    6629 Thoroughbred Loop
    Odessa, Fl 33556

    Please include names of adults and children. Limited financial support is available.

    Please consider donating $5 to help support those in need.


  • Tu B’Shvat 2017

    Tu B’Shvat, the New Year of the Tree(s)
    Date: Saturday, 02/11/17
    Time: 7:00 p.m.
    Place: Shenefelt Home
    Cost: Free
    Experience the meaning of this hidden but joyous seder as you enjoy a variety of fruits, nuts and beverages, with special attention given to the seven species of Israel.
    RSVP by 02/08/17

  • A message from Rabbi Debrah

    A Message From Rabbi Debrah:

    Make your learning into your prayer , and make your prayer into your derech, your way of living.

  • Freedom by Cantor Shoshana Brown

    Martin Luther King Jr.’s words put to the melody from the song Freedom by Cantor Shoshana Brown.

Mitzvah & Meaning from Rabbi Deb

  • A Remebrance of Reb Zalman

    Reb Zalman, z”l

    Reb ZalmanRabbi Zalman Schechter-Shalomi, z”l, died last week and, for me, his departure brought an end to an era of great rabbis who truly care about the people.  This is not to say that there are no longer any great rabbis who care.  Reb Zalman cared for people in ways that seem unique to the rabbis of his generation who came to the United States carrying with them the lights of a Euopean Yeshivah and Chassidic background.

    Reb Zalman was not my primary rebbe.  His colleague Rabbi Brod, z”l, whom we all called “Rabbi,” was my rebbe, my friend, the one who subtly taught me how to reconcile my soul to something better, and the one who taught me the heart of a rebbe.  He taught that a rabbi should be driven by the need to find flexibility to meet a person’s needs if traditional avenues are, for whatever reason, closed.  Reb Shlomo, another colleague and friend of Reb Zalman’s, had boundaries so thin that he was able to help a stranger as if his life depended on it.  These are the three rabbis who influence me beyond measure.

    Reb Zalman made openings in the Jewish world where spiritually hungry travellers could rest and maybe even take up residence.  The most valuable lesson that I learned from Reb Zalman was a different expression of something precious that I learned from Rabbi Brod.  Reb Zalman taught about retrofitting changes that we make as rabbis and spiritual leaders to traditions and Jewish laws that have developed over thousands of years.


  • Jewish Megatrends by Rabbi Sidney Schwarz

    Shalom all:
    One of my colleagues, Rabbi Daniel Siegel, wrote a review of Jewish Megatrends by Rabbi Sidney Schwarz that I found insightful and touching.  It is a tribute to the unsung heroes throughout the Jewish world.  Some of these invisible heroes have devoted their lives to making positive changes in Jewish culture and practice so that more Jews can come back to their religious or cultural home of origin and feel welcome and nourished.
    I hope you enjoy the essay as much as I do.  You can find it at http://rabbidanielsiegel.com/the-invisibles-reflections-on-jewish-megatrends/
    With blessings for a healthy and fulfilling New Year,
    Rabbi Deb

  • Women of Distinction Program

    Last Thursday, on December 5, 2013, Or Ahavah was proud to hear Dr. Linda Wexler’s name called as our honoree during the Women of Distinction program.  Several women from a variety of Jewish organizations were honored for the work that they have generously given to the Jewish community and beyond.  It’s a fabulous event.  It is inclusive of the mitzvah mavens so well known in the Tampa Jewish community and other mitzvah mavens who we are hearing about for the first time.

    Two pictures of Linda are posted on the website, one with Rabbi Deb and the other with her husband Colby.  Based on a write-up submitted by Or Ahavah, here is what was written in the program and spoken about Linda as she was called up to be honored: (more…)

  • Spa Day-Making it Jewish – Part 1.

    Yum!A couple of Sundays ago, Or Ahavah indulged in Spa and Schmooze Day.  Our very own Dr. Phil  talked about skin care and answed our many questions.  Two masseuses and a facialist offered spa treatments that were awesome and reasonably priced.  As we were waiting our turn on the spa table and chair, many of us gathered around a table filled with healthy but tasty food and drink offerings.  “What makes this Jewish,” I asked, and someone quipped “eating good food!”  I agree that enjoying and sharing Jewish-style food with others is a way of experiencing Jewish identity, but I wanted something more (more…)

  • Chanukah Gathering

    Our Chanukah gathering at Siesta Key Beach was fabulous!  Somebody remarked that it felt like she and her husband were with family.  I cannot think of better feedback to share than that.
    Here are a few pics from the party.