Outreach Temple Nefesh Brings Soul and Spirit to the Eastside

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Rabbi Susan Goldberg dancing with the community
Rabbi Susan Goldberg dances; Jewish Journal

Esther Kustanowitz writes in the Jewish Journal, August 28, 2019:

On a recent Friday night at the Silverlake Independent Jewish Community Center, Nefesh, an outreach temple that was incubated as a project of Wilshire Boulevard Temple (WBT), was stretching its wings as a newly independent community. 

About 150 people gathered to mark the end of another week and the beginning of Shabbat while founder Rabbi Susan Goldberg danced, sang and prayed with them. 

“It was buzzing, the room was electric,” said Beth Pickens, a Los Feliz resident and a Nefesh lay leader. Pickens brought a group of new people to experience the Nefesh service. “They said, ‘OMG, I’m in, I want to do this again.’ ‘I didn’t know temple could feel like this.’ It exceeded all of our expectations.” 

Goldberg also led the project in its previous incarnation, in her former position at WBT. 

“Nefesh began as a service and then became a community,” Goldberg said. “The hope now is that it will continue to do outreach in a neighborhood where there isn’t a temple, serving a community that’s not being served.” 

“It’s a Jewish community for Jews who feel like they can’t be part of the Jewish community, myself included,” Pickens said.

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