Nefesh is an open-hearted spiritual community welcoming all of the identities that make up who we are and who we love. Born in the multicultural beauty of LA’s east side neighborhoods, Nefesh cultivates empathy, love, and justice. Nefesh is a doorway to the wisdom, ritual, and melodies of the Jewish tradition.
- Song of the Self, Song of the Other, Song of the World
- We place the margin at the center
- We are intergenerational
- Middot-driven (values) community
- Participatory community
- Friday Shabbat services
- Saturday Shabbat services
- Nefesh Boost & Annual Retreat
- Healing justice actions (Tikkun)
Nefesh brings the song of the self, the song of the other, and the song of the world into a sacred song. We know there are times when we elevate one or the other in our lives. Nefesh is a community that reminds, supports, and provides teachings and practices to help us hold all three. We hold our inner lives and spiritual growth, we also hold care, responsibility and knowledge of others AND the repair of the world.
Nefesh has an intentional approach to community: we place the margin at the center. By this we mean that we make central those communities who have struggled to find Jewish community and their authentic, valued place within it. This includes women, multicultural Jews, Jews of Color, spiritual seekers, queer and trans people, Deaf Jews, young adults, interfaith families, and people who have felt excluded from or devalued within Jewish spaces.
We are an intergenerational community always establishing ways to connect people across age for their unique connections.
We are a middot-driven community elevating the deepest values of the Jewish tradition as the grounding framework for our spiritual practice, communal vision, and growth intrapersonally, interpersonally and with our world. Mussar is a Jewish spiritual practice engaged in developing an internal and external mindful moral compass and ethical life. In the Nefesh community each of us choses a middah (a value/character trait) at Rosh Hashana to work on for the year and we dive into this practical spiritual work in services, study, monthly middot groups, and in chevruta (peer to peer connection).
Nefesh is a participatory community drawing on the collective skills, efforts, talents, and resources of those who are creating Nefesh together. Our membership model, known as Kinship, was developed in a community process in order to reflect our values of a responsive, welcoming community. We are committed to an empathy-based communication practice to serve the needs of staff and community members.
Nefesh gathers the first and third Friday of every month for Erev Shabbat services filled with beautiful live music led by musical director Duvid Swirsky, associate musical director Sally Dworsky, and musicians Ari Herstand, Dan Potruch, and Leah Zeger. Rabbi Susan Goldberg leads the service with insightful teachings and participatory ritual, interpretation, old and new music, spiritual reflection, grief and hope. Nefesh is accessible, warm and welcoming, inviting you to come as you are. The services are deeply spiritual, opening a path for people from a variety of Jewish experiences and practices. When we are gathering in person, we have a pre-service potluck with dancing, sweets and libations after the service. We bring all of this goodness and energy into our online Shabbat services as we move through these unique times.
On the third Saturday of each month, Nefesh gathers for Shabbat morning services. We begin with a lively family service, followed by a full Shabbat morning service with Torah reading and discussion. When Nefesh is in person, we continue activities and childcare for the children throughout the morning. When we have youth or adult B’nai Mitzvah celebrations, they occur in this community service and celebration.
The first Sunday of the month is Nefesh Boost, a day of learning with adult study sessions, song circles, middot practice and teen group. And our annual retreat is a yearly boost filled with spiritual teachings, art making, hiking, storytelling, singing and connecting.
Nefesh is dedicated to participating in healing justice actions and our Nefesh Tikkun Collective focuses on three areas: immigrant rights and support of immigrant families, support for kids in the Los Angeles County foster care system, and advocating for more humane policies for incarcerated people, especially those with mental health issues.Back to top
Join Rabbi Susan Goldberg & gifted musicians for moving, music-filled Shabbat services, Havdalah gatherings, and study groups in your neighbors’ homes.
Breathe, sing, and fill up. All are welcome.
Join us for Shabbat service every first and third Friday of the month and second Saturday mornings.