For a congregation that faced millions in debt and a dwindling membership 10 years ago, hosting a “Burn the Mortgage” event was a particularly sweet moment for Shomrei Torah Synagogue. More than 500 people turned out on June 16 to celebrate the Conservative congregation’s final payment on its West Hills complex.
El Camino Real High School in Woodland Hills has once again given Los Angeles something to kvell about. The school claimed top honors at this year's national Academic Decathlon, the annual contest of intellectual prowess.
Three of the nine team members generated special pride for the Jewish community: Lindsey Cohen and Linsday Gibbs are both affiliated with Shomrei Torah, while Kevin Rosenberg attends Temple Aliyah.
"I got enormous support from my parents, from my temple [Shomrei Torah] and from my friends," Gibbs said. "After we won state, the rabbi sent me a letter and the cantor called me.... They didn't know what I got on each test or how I did medal-wise, and yet, they were all so supportive and welcoming and congratulatory when I got back."
Looking around the room at the recent tikkun leyl Shavuot held at Shomrei Torah in West Hills, it was hard to believe this synagogue was ever doomed to failure.
Four West Valley synagogues representing three different denominations -- the Calabasas Shul (Orthodox), Temple Solael (Reform), Temple Aliyah and Shomrei Torah (Conservative) -- will join together for a Tashlich ceremony Sunday, Sept. 19, at the Westlake Village Marina.
This month sees the official retirement of a Valley legend. Rabbi Eli Schochet of Shomrei Torah will step down after nearly 40 years at the pulpit. Still available for "life-cycle events," the synagogue's new rabbi emeritus will be essentially withdrawing from his very public position.