Saturday, December 20, 2014


Rabbi Harold Schulweis of Conservative Temple Valley Beth Shalom (VBS) in Encino passed away on December 18, 2014.

His works, teachings, publications and organizations not only transformed portions of the San Fernando Valley, but reached throughout the United States and the world.

“Harold Schulweis was a public intellectual who redefined what it is to be a Jew, an author and passionate orator who met injustices and suffering with action,” said Rabbi Ed Feinstein, his friend and successor as senior rabbi at VBS.

“He transformed his synagogue into a living laboratory of social activism and creative spiritual life, introducing innovations that became staples for Jewish congregations across North America,” Feinstein said.

Schulweis recognized the power of congregations to shape the lives of a generation of Jews isolated from community and alienated from their traditions. In 1970, he took the pulpit of VBS in the burgeoning San Fernando Valley. Under his leadership, the synagogue grew to become the largest Conservative congregation in the Western United States.

In 1970, Rabbi Schulweis was invited to the pulpit of Valley Beth Shalom, a Conservative synagogue in the burgeoning San Fernando Valley community of Encino. He transformed his synagogue into a living laboratory of social activism and creative spiritual life introducing innovations that became staples for Jewish congregations across North America. In 1971, Schulweis introduced synagogue-based "Havurot," gathering small groups of families to share religious and family life. His "Para-Rabbinic" initiative offered a revolutionary model of lay-professional synagogue leadership. A para-professional Counseling Center was established at Valley Beth Shalom offering psychological and family support to the synagogue and wider communities. In 1992, Schulweis was among the first rabbis in the Conservative Movement to openly welcome gay and lesbian Jews into the synagogue.

Schulweis' reach went far beyond his congregation. His pulpit became a launching pad for his efforts to re-focus contemporary Judaism. He founded the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous (, recognizing, celebrating and supporting Christians who rescued Jews during the Holocaust. With Rabbi Leonard Fine, he founded Mazon (, a Jewish community response to hunger and poverty in America. In 2004, he established Jewish World Watch (, a coalition of Jewish organizations dedicated to raising awareness and mobilizing resources in response to the on-going genocide in Darfur and the Congo.

Speaking on the occasion of Schulweis' 80th birthday in 2005, Rabbi Harold Kushner described him as "the finest Rabbi in America." At a celebration of the tenth anniversary of the founding of Jewish World Watch earlier this year, Rabbi Irving (Yitz) Greenberg described Schulweis is "one of the great teachers of our people's history."

As much public intellectual as pulpit rabbi, Schulweis authored nine books and hundreds of articles in which he offered a unique version of post-Holocaust Jewish theology. Schulweis' "Theological humanism" is rooted in the Biblical conviction that the human being bears the divine image, and in philosopher Martin Buber's concept of God revealed in deep human relationships. Schulweis imagined God not above us, but within and between human beings. Prayer and religious observance, Schulweis instructed, are not directed above as a plea for supernatural intervention, but within - as an inspiration to individual and communal reflection, commitment and moral action. Building on the theology developed in his doctoral writing, Schulweis advocated "predicate theology," identifying those aspects of human activity which are "Godly". "God," he frequently argued, "is not believed, but behaved". Conscience is the living nexus between the divine and the human in everyday life. The cultivation of conscience is the central function of religious life and religious education.

Schulweis remained active in the life of the congregation until his death. He delivered sermons during High Holiday services in September 2013 and remained at Shabbat services and other community events.

Among Rabbi Schulweis' greatest legacy is his vast library of publications that will live on and serve for generations to come in his memory. Just a few of note are: Evil and the Morality of God (Jersey City, N.J: Ktav Pub. House, 2010.); For Those Who Can't Believe, Overcoming the Obstacles to Faith (1995, New York: Harper Perennial; Finding Each Other in Judaism: Meditations on the Rites of Passage from Birth to Immortality (2001, New York: URJ Press); In God's Mirror, Reflections and Essays (2003, Jersey City, NJ: KTAV); Conscience: The Duty to Obey and the Duty to Disobey. (2010, Woodstock, VT: Jewish Lights); Embracing the Seeker (2010, Halperin, M., (Ed.) Jersey City, NJ: KTAV). The Schulweis Institute online library,, offers a collection serving as the living repository for over 750 audio, video and document copies of the Rabbi's writings, sermons and teachings.

Schulweis is survived by his wife, Malkah, his children Seth Schulweis of West Los Angeles, Ethan Schulweis of Beit Hashita, Israel, and Alyssa (Peter) Reich of West Los Angeles, and eleven grandchildren.

The funeral will take place at Valley Beth Shalom, 15739 Ventura Boulevard, Encino, CA at 11 a.m. on Sun., Dec. 21, 2014. A private burial will follow.


Come on over to the Rancho Cordiella del Norte for its holiday program on December 20th.

Reception, 5:30 pm
Procession to the Theatre, 6:45 pm
Gala dinner show, 7:00 pm

FREE Parking
18916 Nordhoff Street
Northridge, CA 91324

To order tickets in advance, please call (818) 993-1669.
Credit Cards Accepted

Thursday, November 20, 2014



FREE Admission 
FREE Parking
Tuesdays 1pm - 8pm
Thursdays 1pm - 6pm
Saturdays 1pm - 6pm

18860 Nordhoff St., Suite 204 
Northridge, CA 91324-3885

(Southeast Corner of Wilbur Ave. and Nordhoff St. - Across from ARCO Station)

We encourage residents, companies, organizations and associations and all other interested parties to support The Museum of the San Fernando Valley with a tax-deductible contribution at one of the following membership levels:
($25)..............................Cahuenga Level
($50)..............................Amelia Earhart Level
($100).............................Lankershim Level (Family Level)
($250).............................El Camino Real Level (Corporate Level)
($500).............................Chandler Level
($1,000)...........................Los Encinos Level
($2,500)...........................Pio Pico Level
($5,000)..........................Gaspar de Portola Level                                                                                  (Other).................$_____________
If you would like to become a member of The Museum, please click on the Donate button below. You may select any membership level and pay from a PayPal account or with a credit card.
In addition, if you would like to become a member and write a check, it may be made payable and sent to:
The Museum of the San Fernando Valley
18860 Nordhoff St., Suite 204
Northridge, CA 91324-3885

For additional information on becoming a member, please contact our Membership Committee at (818) 347-9665 PST, email or use the Contact page.
Thank you for your generous support.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


The Public Art Initiative (PAI) is a committee of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley. We are a group of volunteer artists and art enthusiast from all over the San Fernando Valley working to beautify and bring more art to our neighborhoods. 

We've been making murals, bringing free interactive activities to public events, hosting art shows, setting up public art tours, attending art events and looking for locations that want public art. 

Come meet the the committee on Wednesday, Nov. 26th at 5pm and lets share ideas! 

You will also have an opportunity to see the current exhibits at The Museum of the San Fernando Valley and, if you choose, you can sit in on the regular PAI meeting, following the meet and greet.

5pm to 7pm - Meet & Greet (networking, exploring the exhibits and sharing artwork)

7pm to 9pm - PAI Meeting (talk about current PAI projects and opportunities)

The Museum of the San Fernando Valley
18860 Nordhoff St., Suite 204
Northridge, CA 91324-3885

The PAI meets every last Wednesday of the month.
Usually we all bring snacks and drinks to share. 

This meeting is open to all artists and art enthusiast.

Monday, November 17, 2014


Historic Van Nuys Walking Tour

Saturday, November 29, 2014 

10am - 12:30pm 

$10 Donation 


Come out and burn a few of those extra Thanksgiving dinner calories at our annual "Walk It Off" tour - always on the weekend after Thanksgiving. 
Attendees will learn about the original 1911 buildings hidden beneath modern facades, first churches, a civic center with many special revelations, the Women's Club building, origin of the Daily News, Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monuments #201, #202, and #911, and National Register of Historic Places Monument #2509. Also, who were Hobart Johnstone Whitley, Wayne E. Bechtelheimer and Whitley Van Nuys Huffaker? Re-live "Wednesday Nights on Van Nuys Boulevard" and much more!
Additional tour highlights include:
  • Van Nuys Bungalow
  • Women's Club
  • Old Van Nuys Library (1927)
  • United Methodist Church
  • Municipal Building Fa├žade
  • Van Nuys Post Office
  • Abeles Map
  • Fernando Statue, Crystal Plunge
  • Bob's Big Boy, Busch Gardens
  • Lankershim, Van Nuys, Whitsett, and Whitley Overviews
Cost: $10 Donation. You may make a donation from a PayPal account or with a credit card.
In addition, if you would like write a check for a tour, it may be made payable and sent to:

The Museum of the San Fernando Valley 
Mailing Address: 
18860 Nordhoff St.., Suite 204
Northridge, CA 91324-3885
RSVP: Please contact us at (818) 347-9665 and leave your name, email, phone number and how many attendees or email at
Meeting Location: Van Nuys Tour meets at 6262 Van Nuys Blvd. at Sylvan and Van Nuys Blvd., under arch, which is southeast corner of the street at 10:00 a.m.