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OurSpaceLA

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Where a Spectrum of Jewish Experiences Happen for Children, Teens and Adults with Special Needs and Unique Abilities, along with their family, friends and community.

OurSpaceLA offers a full spectrum of Jewish experiences that enable participants to actively embrace Judaism as a meaningful way of life. Participants learn about Shabbat, Jewish holidays, customs, traditions, prayer and values. They celebrate holidays, life-cycle events, and other important milestones. The variety of program opportunities offered enables participants to create lifelong friendships and together they are empowered to become active and contributing members of the larger Jewish community. OurSpaceLA is a program of Valley Beth Shalom and synagogue membership is not required for participation. 

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To enroll, please contact:  Susan North Gilboa, Director of OurSpaceLA Programs, at 818.530.4069.

Join OurSpaceLA

Click here to read the article featured by the Jewish Federation: "An Interview with Maya Wernick, A Teen Volunteer at OurSpace"

Enrollment Forms

2019/2020 Student Enrollment Form

2019/2020: Adult Participant Enrollment Form

Check out our 2019-2020 Year in Review!

Check out our 2018-2019 Year in Review!

Be the Change You Want to See in the World

Find beauty and hope within the chaos.

Move through each exhibit and meet some of our professional guest artists, teachers, volunteers and participants of OurSpaceLA Artistic Spectrum of Jewish Learning.

In order for OurSpaceLA to survive and to thrive, we need your help.

Every dollar donated here will help to support OurSpaceLA programs, participants and families!

11th Annual (Virtual) Art Gallery

Donate to OurSpaceLA

Upcoming Programs

Meet Our Director

Susan North Gilboa

Director of OurSpaceLA Programs

Susan’s vision and goal has always been to create spaces and programs where opportunities to participate in living a full Jewish life are experienced by everyone in our community. Susan is a true pioneer in the field, and an inspiration for all.

Susan came to VBS as a co-founder of the B’Yachad (Together) social group back in1984 and since then has worked with our Directors of Youth Engagement and Heads of ECLC. Shortly after, she was hired as the Coordinator of the Sha'are Tikva (Gates of Hope) and Moreshet (Heritage) classes, plus the JFS Chaverim program when it was housed at VBS. During those 20+ years, Susan created Parent Chats, a B’nai Mitzvah prep program, a post B’nai Mitzvah class, and the Artistic Spectrum of Jewish Learning adult arts program. Susan was the Israeli Dance/Creative Movement Teacher in VBSDS for 18 years, where she created and ran the first Resource Room for the school. Susan also created a Dance Artist in Residence Program for synagogues and school communities, which was piloted and ran at Valley Beth Shalom for two years prior to when the Schulweis Arts Institute was created.

In 2007 she became the co-founder and part-time director of the OurSpace Collaboration between Valley Beth Shalom and Temple Aliyah. This allowed the existing programs to expand and based on the ever-changing needs of people in the community, for new programs to be offered.  Susan has served and continues to serve on numerous task forces, advisory boards, and as a consultant for the Jewish Federation, BJELA, Camp Ramah’s Tikva program, and various synagogues in LA and Orange County. She has taught sessions for the AJU Service Learning classes, Delet and Master’s of Education students at HUC and for teacher in-service training at various locations.

Susan and her husband Rami are long-time members of the VBS community, and their children, Talia and Aviv, are VBS, AJ Heschel and NCJHS alumni. Following in the footsteps of their Ema, they both attended Camp Ramah (as toddlers, campers and on staff) and are on the alumni board of Ramah. Susan (born and raised in NY), and Rami (born and raised in Israel) have been members since 1993, they both took the Para- Rabbinic class with Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis (z”l), are active shul goers, and that includes Rami attending the N’Shama Minyan of which Susan is one of it’s co-founders and committee members.

Our Programs

OurSpaceLA's Learning, Social, and Art Experience Programs at VBS include:

Shaare Tikva – Gates of Hope

Offers Jewish learning and social experiences for children ages 3-18 with a range of developmental delays and/or Autistic Spectrum Disorders. Participants develop their Jewish identities using art, music, dance, and multi-sensory, interactive learning experiences.  These experiences enable them to participate in a full Jewish life with family, friends, and community. Meets Sunday morning 9:15-11:30 A.M. (VBS)

The Artistic Spectrum of Jewish Learning for Adults

The Artistic Spectrum of Jewish Learning for Adults encourages adults (over the age of 18) with special needs and special abilities, to participate in life-long Jewish learning through the arts, while socializing with friends and community. Throughout the years as professional artists come to work with us they have helped to discover many of our participants’ hidden talents. There is a growing body of research that points to the effectiveness of arts education to enrich our lives and it allows people with special needs an opportunity to develop along their unique paths.  In addition to this research, there is a long tradition with Judaism embracing the arts as religious expression. Meets Sundays 9:15 A.M.-11:30 A.M.  (VBS)

Kolot Tikva (Voices of Hope) Choir

Invites children, teens and adults with special needs and special talents to raise their voices in song. This program is geared to participants who love to sing and are interested in learning to sing Hebrew and English. The OurSpace Kolot Tikva choir is geared to participants who love to sing, are interested in learning to sing in Hebrew and English, the words of our liturgy, Torah, Jewish values, along with Shabbat and Holiday songs. In addition to the wonderful song sessions, the OS Kolot Tikva choir performs at various community events and synagogue services throughout the year. Meets two Sundays per month, plus some performance dates. (VBS)

B’Yachad (Together) Bet

A monthly social group for Jewish teens and young adults ages 14-18 year olds and 19 year old adults with special needs. Participants go on field trips throughout Los Angeles and enjoy visiting the Science Museum, LACMA, participating in community service, yoga sessions, sports, drum circles, Shabbat dinner, and going to Sky High. (VBS)

Parent & Grandparent Bagel ‘N’ Chat

Provides monthly discussion, workshop presentations, and a support group for parents/grandparents to network, share, socialize and create a community of friends.

Bagel ‘N’ Chat

Sunday mornings, monthly at Valley Beth Shalom


Watch

Shabbat Sermon, May 30, 2015 with Rabbi Ed Feinstein

Rabbi Ed Feinstein talks in detail about Shaare Tikva and OurSpace, as well as the incredible children and adults that participate in the program and help it to flourish.

For more information, please contact OurSpaceLA Director Susan North Gilboa at 818-530-4069.

OurSpaceLA programming is open to the community and made possible in part through the support from the Elaine Berke Endowment Fund to Shaare Tikva, funding from the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, Jewish Community Foundation and from community grants and donations.

 

Tue, August 11 2020 21 Av 5780