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2009 Top-Rated Nonprofit

IKAR

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Judaism, Religion

Mission: To promote Jewish spirituality, education and social action.

Community Stories

38 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 1

"The Rabbi is very dynamic and entertaining, however, there have been issues concerns and complaints. There have been issues surrounding the parishioners. Some have cited that many of the participants are weird, strange and off-beat. There have been concerns surrounding overt and covert rampant discrimination Jew or non-Jew alike against those the established officers do not fit their criteria. There have been complaints that the leadership does not properly background check those that monitor the children." There is also a bigger question and nobody seems to know or concerned how their monetary contributions are being used. There does not seem to be any accountability.

Client Served

Rating: 1

If you do not fit into their clique you will be discriminate against I was humiliated outside by the Rabbis Father who did not like the way I was dressed. I am not even Jewish and came in a suit but a group of them insisted that I should come in pajamas. There is class warfare and economic jealously occurring with this group and the leadership. I sensed anger, resentment and jealously amongst some of the members because I do not think they are able to make a living. Rabbi was very polite though. I choose to go someplace else because personally I choose to soar with the eagles rather than run with the Turkeys.

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

IKAR ignites a fire in my soul, spirit and drive to do the work that needs to be done in our community and beyond. Rabbi Brous constantly challenges me to question my place in this world and how we can change the injustices in the world in a truly authentically Jewish way. We found IKAR after searching for a spiritual and passionate community for a long time. IKAR was like a light at the end of the tunnel and there was always a smiling, welcoming face to usher us in. It is now a home to our family.

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

IKAR offers what few Jewish organizations can - a spiritual, intellectual, and practical home in which to explore a personal relationship with Judaism without judgement or pressure.

6

Former Volunteer

Rating: 5

Ikar is a very special place where our family has always found a close connection to God through its strong and vibrant community that is not only involved in matters of the soul but also of the world. It is a place where your mind and body are challenged to become involved in your community and your heart and soul inevitably follow. Before Ikar, synagogue life for us primarily consisted of personal spirituality and individual soul searching--but through Ikar and Rabbi Brous' teachings we have learned that the purpose of personal healing within the synagogue walls is to go out into the world and do what ever we can to help heal it...at what ever capacity we can, big or small. If you are looking for a place that will bring meaning to your life and those around you, Ikar is for you. You want to be there.

5

Board Member

Rating: 5

Ikar has been an amazing place for our entire family. It is a place that engages and challenges in the best way in terms of spirituality, social action, and community. Our 2 teenage children were b'nai mitzvahed here and continue to stay connected to both Ikar and their Jewish identities. Every member of the family, all with differing interests and needs, gets so much from Ikar.

6 Hanneruth

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I grew up in war-time and post war Sweden in a community with 50 Jewish souls. My school years were spent in an orthodox school in England, and my married life centered around a conservative community in the Valley. It took over 60 years for me to find my spiritual home. IKAR was the answer to my lifelong yearning for spirituality merged with joy and social activism. Thank G-d for Rabbi Sharon Brous, IKAR's passionate, warm, inspiring spiritual leader, who has opened up Judaism to so many people, young and old. IKAR is Judaism with joy not guilt!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Words can't really express how wonderful i think this community is...i grew up orthodox in England, lived in NYC for six years and finally settled in LA two years ago. IKAR is one of the reasons that i will stay! It feels like the community i have always been searching for...the overall vibe is open and welcoming, a true "by the people, for the people" feel...the music and the soul and the sense of spirit that emanates from services every week never ceases to amaze me and as i'm sure everyone notes, Rabbi Sharon is just a gift of a leader. Her sermons are grounded and real and uplifting and lofty all at the same time. I live in Venice, over a half an hour drive away and there is no question that it is worth the commute. The mix of social justice, intellectual inquiry and soulful singing communal singing and dancing is exactly what i think Judaism is and should be all about. My parents came from Chicago and my grandfather came from England to experience Yom Kippur at IKAR this year and said that from now on, wherever they are in the world, they will always endeavor to come to LA to come IKAR for Yom Kippur. That's how moving and wonderful they found it and i concur!

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

Ikar is the antidote to what's been wrong with Jewish practice for some time. It's about uniting spirituality with social action. The services find a new way to stir your soul and the community outreach program lets you live out the values we believe in. The rabbi rocks. The folks are friendly. It changed my outlook on Judaism.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

IKAR is the most welcoming community where every one feels important. Experiencing the sincerity of Rabbi Sharon Brous is so refreshing and learning Torah from her is enlightening. Learning that praying is hard work and being a part of the prayer experience is so fulfilling. Every member of the IKAR davening team including Hillel Tigay, Ross Levinson, Lizzi Heydemann and others share their skills and talents and allows you to be a participant. IKAR is so apecial, I recommend this community for everyone.

1

Former Volunteer

Rating: 5

This community is still my home, even though I moved across the country to become a Jewish leader in my own right. I am continually grateful to Ikar for inspired davvening, Torah, and friendships.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Simhat Torah at IKAR was incredible. It reminded me that the Jewish community is not dying. We are not disappearing, we just need to be met at a place that is comfortable and challenging. You have found that crux and I am so thankful for it. It was a very special night, but then again most days at IKAR are very special.

7

Board Member

Rating: 5

After several years of searching for a Jewish community and spiritual home, I was thrilled to find IKAR. From the first time I arrived at IKAR I knew it was a truly unique place. Now, years later, I am still consistently inspired by Rabbi Sharon Brous and by the ways in which the community engages Jews of all backgrounds and interests. There is a place for everyone at IKAR, whether it be serious Torah study, beautiful and soulful prayer, or participation in a variety of social justice initiatives. I am proud to be an active volunteer and member of the board in this time of great growth and opportunity for IKAR.

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

IKAR helped me rediscover Judaism and connect with it in ways I never thought were possible. Thanks to its commintment to serious study and serving the community IKAR has become not only a safe place for my spirituality but also has been halping me become a better person.

7

Board Member

Rating: 5

IKAR is a wonderful organization that has changed lives and makes Judaism accessible. By being both progressive and traditional, IKAR has been able to bring together a dedicated community committed to social justice.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was searching for a synagogue and found IKAR to be an incredibly inspiring Jewish experience. Rabbi Sharon Brous is a very charismatic leader, and under her leadership IKAR combines spiritual inspiration and a strong commitment to community outreach and action. IKAR is a very friendly, young-thinking shul, and attracts people of all ages.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

IKAR touches my soul. It is a place that allows me to stop, recharge and remember who I am and pushes me to be the person I want to be in the world. The organization is constantly striving and improving. The Rabbi is brilliant and authentic. Ikar is an integral part of my family's life-- thank goodness.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 4

In my opinion IKAR is the most thought-provoking and engaging Jewish institution in the city. Worship services at IKAR are inspiring. And the Rabbi and davening team continue to innovate with new melodies, excercises in prayer, and torah discussion in order to improve on an already excellent worship experience. Politically and socially IKAR is a highly engaged organization with big plans. It's approach is admirable and visionary.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Every time I come to IKAR (which is becoming more and more often) I find something or someone that inspires me to do my part in helping heal the world. Through IKAR, I've started cooking meals for a nearby homeless shelter, organized volunteers for the Purim justice event, and devoted my Saturday mornings to teaching five-year-olds about social action. I look forward to many more wonderful opportunities in the future.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

IKAR is the most spiritual and giving, environment I've come into contact with in all of my adult years. I believe everyone assocaited with IKAR has a connection to this energy we call God, to live life to its fullest through the constant connection off giving. It is a true honor to be a part of this community... and encourage everyone to experience and grow with the strength of this organiztion. Out of a little idea to form a Jewish community of giving people; this synagogue accepts everyone, gives everyone love and opportunity to join, regardless of income or background. Not only is it a living testament to what can be achieved but they are an inspiration to what we can achieve, do and become as individuals....

4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My family is so fortunate to have found Ikar. We begin every weekend by going together on Saturday mornings. The day starts with an inspirational joint session with the whole community. Then children go to religious school and parents participate in services and adult programming, followed by a kiddish lunch. Our school director is a treasure. It is a wonderful routine to wake up to on Saturday. My kids love Judaism, religious school, Shabbat and holidays. Everyone knows my children's names at Ikar and it is a 2nd home for them.

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am a proud, engaged Jew thanks to Ikar. I like to be there. My children like to be there. It's our family's second home. And the Rabbi challenges me to be a better person. It's part of the fabric of my life.

8

Former Volunteer

Rating: 5

My high holidays have truly changed my life here -- and isn't that what it's supposed to be about? Plus, my kids actually LOVE Hebrew school. Where else does that happen? Ikar is an extraordinary place.

7

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I honestly didn't know it could be like this. I was looking for a place for my kids and realized there could be something in it for me, too. I'm constantly challenged, in a good way.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

IKAR is a great place for spirituality, learning, community and social justice. I am so happy to be a part of the IKAR community. I look forward to weekly services (although I am not able to make it every week). Services recharge my batteries and put me in touch with my deepest values and feelings. I also have benefited deeply from participating in Minyan Tzedek, a social justice project where the entire IKAR community works together to heal and transform our city and world.

8

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My husband, my 86 year old father from England, and I came to LA last week with the sole purpose of sharing an IKAR Yom Kippur. Our daughter had told us how amazing it was and we really wanted to experience it for ourselves. There were many times during the 25 hours that I personally was so moved. To mention just a few – Rabbi Sharon’s explanation of Unsaneh Tokef really resonated with me. Being able to stand in front of the ark at Neilah was particularly wonderful. My grandfather always had the honour of opening the ark and standing by it at neilah and as a female, growing up in an orthodox community I never thought I would have that opportunity. When we came into the service on Kol Nidre the atmosphere, with the humming was magical and the feeling continued for the whole 25 hours. Reading through the Minyan Tzedek literature was so awesome. Ikar has an extraordinary Rabbi, and an incredible group of people who have created something so very special.

10

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Awesome community. Brilliant Rabbi. Fiery discussions. Rocking music. Just can't believe the mega-donors haven't found a way to bottle up IKAR and bring it to the far reaches of the Judaism.

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I can connect with my Judaism and Jewishness when I go to services at IKAR. I just wish there were Friday night services every week as they are something I look forward to.

8

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Do you remember those overzealous friends in High School that ran for student government? The speeches that started off with: "If I am elected Senior Class President, I will ensure that there are vending machines in every classroom. You've got my word - There will be NO homework on weekends and NO school on Fridays!" Even then nobody really believed that could happen - but we appreciated the thought! IKAR is like that dream - turned reality! When Rabbi Brous and the amazing founders of this community began their quest to establish a vibrant a, they dreamed big and made those seemingly ludicrous promises a reality! If you're looking for a welcoming and vibrant place to call your Jewish home - IKAR is it! If you have become increasingly disconnected from your Judaism and still have nightmares of the horrific place we all remember as "Hebrew School" - fret no more! THIS AIN'T YOUR BUBBE'S JUDAISM!! Come check it out - you won't be disappointed!

6

Donor

Rating: 5

Whether you are a devoted observer of Judaism or a culturally devoted individual without any knowledge of Hebrew, IKAR is a welcoming place for all. The environment is hamish; pleasing to all age groups. So many young families are involved in the Jewish community by way of IKAR; setting an example for this next generation of Jewish children. The lively services with singing, dancing; the inspiring messages brought forth each week by Rabbi Brous are what you find at IKAR. But what you cannot see immediately is the work that each and every member is doing behind the "scenes" to make our world a better place. Our Rabbi has structured programs giving us the opportunities to make a difference and has given me personally a greater sense of purpose.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I'd heard IKAR was good. But come on - I was a hardened New Yorker; nothing could impress me...and then it did. By my fourth Shabbat, ten people greeted me on my way from the front door to my seat. I turned to the gentleman sitting next to me, and said, "I can't believe I know so many people here!" "That's why they call it community," he said. Plus, my Yom Kippur at IKAR two weeks ago was the first time in a long time that I felt connected to the spirit of the holiday, the community and to myself, all at the same time...and I made it through the fast with barely a headache. If that's not an endorsement, I don't know what is.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Aside from having a spectacular rabbi who is dedicated to social justice and the community at large, the people who are active in IKAR are awesome too. It's the place to be for young jews in LA.

3

Board Member

Rating: 5

I wasn't looking to join a shul...I figured I would casually shop around and if something caught my interest I would bite. A good friend brought me in, and after the first Shabbat service I attended I was hooked. The music, the soul, and the intensity of the experience was unlike anything I had ever known. Over the course of many weeks and months, I came to call IKAR home. I have built many strong friendships in this community, and reached spiritual heights I didn't know I could. Rabbi Brous continues to be an inspiration to me and others, and I look forward to my family continuing to grow with the community.

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am a Second Generation Angeleno. My family has always been involved in Jewish and Jewish Family life. I, like many, as an adult went from temple to temple searching for the perfect fit. My kids turned me on to Ikar more than four years ago. I came and new by the first shabbat this was the place for me. The services reminded me of the incredible experiences I had at Camp Ramah in Ojai in my youth. I cannot express in words how Rabbi Brous' words elevate my spirit and soul. May she always be blessed with the great strength, wisdom and compassion she now commands. Cantor Hillel Tigay is rapsodic in his singing. Everyone attached to Ikar is magnificent. Guess I'm home.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

When I moved to LA and began work in the Entertainment world I felt lost. People seemed fake, only cared about who I worked for and how I might help them get ahead. Discovering IKAR was like hitting gold. The environment was inviting and still challenging. I learned so much about who I am and my role in the world away from my profession. I realized how much room I had to grow within a city that can often feel stifeling. And I met people who were eager to help me, to support me and encourage me to make my dreams my reality.