Come Be A Disrupter With HaNefesh!


Amy Asin taught us at the URJ Biennial in December that if we only seek to improve or transform what synagogues do, then they will not exist. If we want Judaism to exist tomorrow, we have to disrupt the system as we know it. HaNefesh is disrupting the synagogue model as we know it. This is VERY exciting (and a little scary)!

When we envision a synagogue we think about walls. We think about being members where we pay our dues and everything is covered. That is the old model of synagogue life.

Today, in our ever changing world, from community involvement to Covid19, we know the current synagogue model is not sustainable. HaNefesh was created out of this very understanding. Jewish community life is evolving and we are excited to be a part of this new evolution and revolution as a part of today’s new Jewish community.

HaNefesh is a donation based community, which means every donation you make supports what we do and advances our mission. We believe each person has the power to support this work and give as their hearts so move them to give. Our budget is modest; we have to cover salaries as well as pay for equipment, supplies, licensing, and insurance to ensure that HaNefesh can exist. Monthly donations from supporters are very important as they sustain our budget throughout the year. We have taken an entrepreneurial approach to operate outside the traditional institutional model. Together, we are rethinking basic assumptions about Jewish ritual practice, learning and creating interpersonal connections with one another.

We want you to invest not only financially, but also spiritually and emotionally. We hope that you will volunteer your time and talent to help HaNefesh thrive. In the coming days, we hope to begin a Torah study group. Many have requested this and we are excited to help build this community of learners. We will invite you to teach on a Shabbat morning; how you interpret the week’s Torah portion through your eyes and experiences, and share them with the community.

HaNefesh supports and promotes Social Action and Social Justice as part of our mission. There is so much we can do toward tikkun olam, repairing our world and we hope you will be a part of this sacred work. Through Hanefesh, we hope you will volunteer your time to create a social action project or develop information for building on Social Justice platforms that range from homelessness and hunger to women’s and minority rights.

There is both a Sisterhood and Brotherhood being created and HaNefesh is excited to promote and participate in both of these groups.


Torah study with HaNefesh!

We heard you were interested in Torah study with HaNefesh! Awesome! Let’s do this together!

HaNefesh will begin our community led Torah study starting next Saturday, July 4 at 9:00 am with Parashat Chukat/Balak. Rabbi Heidi will lead this class and then everyone is invited to be a Torah leader. We will provide each leader with the host access for the zoom link that week and we invite you to be as creative as you want in sharing your Torah! If you are interested in being a Torah study leader, please contact Rabbi Heidi to sign up! We can’t do this without you!


HaNefesh Virtual Open House

Have Questions? Have Answers? Come zoom in with Rabbi Heidi and Jodi for an informal discussion about HaNefesh and Jew By You. Ask your questions and share some ideas about what we can do with our community together! (Please know, space is limited. Please register for only one date. If we see we need to open another date, we will be more than happy to do so!)

Monday, June 29, noon Click here to register

Wednesday, July 8, 7:30 pm Click here to register


Upcoming Jew By You Classes
(click here to learn more and register)

Text Messages – Torah, Talmud and Our Favorite Authors
Join Jodi Kaufman and Alissa Ackerman in this three part series as they explore thousands of years of Jewish texts alongside their favorite contemporary authors. Classes will take place on June 25th, July 9th and July 23rd at 3pm on Zoom.
Register now to receive a Zoom link.

Pirkei Avot – Ancient Jewish Ethics in Today’s World
Join Rabbi Heidi Cohen in a three part series on Understanding Pirkei Avot and how we can understand it in today’s world. Classes will meet on June 29th, July 13th and July 27th at 7pm on Zoom. Register now to receive a Zoom link to participate in this series.

Lunch and Learn
Join Jodi Kaufman for a stimulating lunch and learn conversation. Upcoming Lunch and Learn dates are June 30th and July 14th at 12:00 PDT.


Some interesting links for learning and growth:

Online Learning and Worship Experiences from the Jewish Emergent Network

This Week’s Torah Portion- Korach

Jewish Virtual Summer Camping Programming!

Jewish Grandparenting

Jewish Podcasts


We are building this HaNefesh community together and we cannot do it without you. We welcome your ideas, your creativity, and your time. Your donations help this community to grow and help support our modest budget. Become a disrupter! Partner with HaNefesh, an organization that breathes new life into Judaism.


Thank you to our HaNefesh Supporters (through June 23, 2020)

Alissa Ackerman-Acklin

Dennis and Charlene Ashendorf

Rhea Dorn

Gayle and Steve Lipson

Rosalee Lubell

Lydia and Don Mandel

Wendy Nevitt

Susan Scheffler and Steve Friedman

Sheila Silver

Scott Singer

Sara and Tracie Turrietta

Stephanie Weissman

4 Anonymous Donors