Or Ahavah welcomes you... x

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

Upcoming Services and Events

  • Join Or Ahavah for a special presentation by Anael Atara Sunday, October 18th from 4-5 p.m.

    The gathering will include a fashion show of her one of a kind tefillinesque* accoutrements and an explanation of her inspiration and process. She will also share her Inspired 10 Commandments of Sacred Nature Art in addition to some of her chants. Anael has been fashioning ceremonial prayer garb and shamanistic creations for over two decades.

    Anael is wearing two of her creations in the picture and makes feminine tefillin for both head and hand. In addition, she makes energetically powerful and beautiful necklaces and Chuppot,

    * Tefillinesque refers to creations of Tefillin that are for women and retrofit with Jewish tradition.

    Donations are appreciated — suggested amount $18
    For more information and to RSVP by 10.16.20, email Orahavahtampa@gmail.com
    To donate by Paypal or Credit Card, contact Phil at P.shenefelt@att.net
    or mail your check made payable to Or Ahavah ◘ 15919 Nottinghill ◘ Drive Lutz, Fl 33548

  • Shelter of Peace: A Sukkot Concert – October 3rd 7PM

    Shelter of Peace: A Sukkot Concert – October 3rd 7PM

    Joy Katzen-Guthrie

    Congregation Or Ahavah ZOOM Room


  • High Holidays 2020

    Rosh Hashanah:
    High Holidays 2020

    Evening service: 09.18.2020
    7:00 PM- Candle-lighting, Blessings and New Year Meditation

    Day service: 09.19.2020
    10:00 AM- Includes Torah Reading and Meditative Musaf Experience

    Evening: 09.27.2020
    4:00 PM- Mikvah Meditation
    5:15 PM- Dinner together on Zoom
    6:30 PM- Kol Nidre Service including Meditation on Oneness

    Day: 09.28.2020
    9:30 AM- Morning service begins followed by services throughout the day. Services include special meditations developed for Yom Kippur and a very moving Yizkor service
    7:22 PM- Shofar Blowing and Havdalah followed by Break-fast on Zoom

    All of the services are virtual on Zoom. There will be several breaks given throughout the day. The cost for all of the holiday services is $360. A significant discount of $180 is given for those who are joining us for the first time. No one is turned away because offinancial constraints. Please contact Phil at p.shenefelt@att.net to arrange for a reduced rate.

    RSVP to orahavahtampa@gmail.com. Payment is due by Monday, 09.14.2020. Please make your check payable to Or Ahavah and mail to:
    Or Ahavah
    15919 Nottinghll Drive Lutz, Fl 33548

    You will be sent links for services, prayer books, and holiday related materials upon receipt of payment. Or Ahavah is a 501c3 non-profit organization.

    Please contact orahavahtampa@gmail.com if you have any questions.

    DOWNLOAD FLYER: high_holidays2020.pdf

  • The Alternative YOMKIPPUR… a Spiritual RETREAT – 2019

    Join OrAhavah for a day of reflection and transformation in a beautiful retreat setting  in Tampa, Fl. Experience the true meaning of the holiest of days – a time for return to your authentic self, a time for second chances.


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


    Tuesday, October 8, 2019
    4:00pm – Preparatory Meditation
    5:15pm – Dinner (fish/vegetarian meal)
    6:30:pm – Kol Nidre and Evening Services

    Wednesday,October 9, 2019
    8:30a.m.- Qi-gong with gentle stretching
    9:30a.m. – Services throughout day with times to rest
    7:15 p.m.—Havdallah followed by full Break the Fast Meal


    • Yom Kippur with Spiritual Integration
    • Kol Nidre and Experiential Yizkor
    • Meditation and Praye
    • Heavenly Music


    Registration and fees attachedbelow


    You are Welcome!

    Download High Holiday Information 2019


  • A Letter to Or Ahavah

    Everyone Shalom,
    Though I usually begin my letters to you with a wish for peace, it has never been more important for me to do so than today.  I am sickened by the hatred, violence and murder that overwhelmed the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.  And I am sickened by Nazi march in Charlottesville, and by the murder of people in a South Carolina church during bible study, and by the murder of two people in a mosque in New York City, and by pipe bombs mailed to terrorize our political and civic leaders.  The Jewish people in Pittsburgh are my people, and so are the others who have been terrorized and murdered because of their religion, race, political view, gender identity or sexual orientation.

    To answer this violence with “we will pray for you,” is good but insufficient.  To answer this violence with, to paraphrase our national leadership, ‘the synagogue should have had better security inside,’ pours fuel on the fire and begs for greater violence.  Listen to the rabbis teach in Pirkei Avot 5: 1 that “The sword comes into the world because of justice delayed and justice denied.”
    We are responsible!  Each of us, singularly and collectively is responsible. And we are empowered to act in ways that can help to bring more civility and decency into our world.

    1.  Vote!  Vote for who inspires you to fulfill the mitzvah of love your neighbor as yourself.  Vote for who helps you to see greater possibilities than hatred and division.  As horrific as these acts of violence are, they also are predictable. Racism, anti-Semitism and other brands of hatred has been introjected into our public discourse and this stimulates and enables deadly action against one another. The Torah teaches repeatedly to “be kind to the stranger.”  Vote for those who accept and even celebrate the differences and who desire justice.

    2.  Have compassion for yourself and act with compassion towards others.   The Torah is filled with mitzvoth about being kind to the stranger.  Justice can be a difficult mitzvah to fulfill and often entails extended struggle.  To be an Israelite is to struggle.   We are G!d wrestlers and this includes how we work to bring justice and peace into the world.

    3.  I hope that our community, Or Ahavah, will become involved in at least one interfaith dialogue this coming year.  In the past two years, I personally have presented at an interfaith gathering at both a mosque and a church.  I welcome any ideas that you may have.  Please send them to me or to the entire community to discuss.

    4.  I feel, as you may, that I am so tiny compared to massive problems.  Remembering the wisdom of Rabbi Tarfon in Pirkei Avot 1:15 helps me and I offer it in hopes that it helps you:  “The day is short, the work is much, ….It is not incumbent upon you to finish the task, but neither are you free to absolve yourself from it.”


    With love,
    Rabbi Deb

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.