Congregation Eitz Or has been Seattle’s alternative/Jewish Renewal community since its inception in 1990. A warm and welcoming community that feels like a Havurah, Eitz Or provides services and learning opportunities throughout the year. Members range from those who are just learning Jewish practices to long-time observers of Jewish traditions and culture.
Led by Arik Labowitz our ongoing spiritual leader, Congregation Eitz Or infuses it’s services, celebrations, and events with chanting, singing, dancing, meditation, drumming, poetry and storytelling. Jewish Renewal often attracts Jews who have disengaged from Judaism or who have come to it for the first time. Many experience the spiritual depth they have been longer for.
Most services are held at the University Unitarian Church in the Wedgwood neighborhood of Seattle. Occasionally services, holidays, and events are held in member’s homes or other locations.
Eitz Or started as a havurah in the late 1980s and officially became a non-denominational congregation in January 1990, under the leadership of Rabbi Vicki Hollander.
In the mid 1990s, under the leadership of Rabbi David Wolfe-Blank z’’l, Eitz Or affiliated with ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal, a worldwide, post-denominational movement founded by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi and grounded in Judaism’s prophetic and mystical traditions.
Our aims and values include:
- Vibrant worship drawing on Kabbalah, Hasidism, meditation, and feminism as well as mainstream pathways.
- Creating a loving egalitarian community that welcomes families of all kinds, singles, and people of all ages and backgrounds. Jewish Renewal Communities, such as ours, have always led the way in including women and LGBTQ communities in all aspects of leadership and liturgy.
- Political activism (Tikkun Olam)—“praying with our feet” in the words of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel.
- Jewish learning through a variety of modalities from Torah Study to Qi Gong with a Jewish emphasis.