Nashuva FAQs

Q: What is Nashuva?
Nashuva is a soulful Jewish community that meets on the first Friday of each month. Nashuva is open to any and all in search of a joyful, meaningful Jewish experience.Q: Why should I experience Nashuva?First, you’ll enjoy it. Nashuva is a haven from our hectic and sometimes spiritually depleting lives. Nashuva energizes us, it revives our souls, it reminds us that we are on this earth to manifest God, in our words and in our actions.

Q: Who is Nashuva?
We are Jews committed to creating a soulful community of prayer AND action. We are diverse, and that diversity reflects a spirit of tolerance and openness. We are young and old. Some of us have deep Jewish backgrounds, some of us have almost no Jewish involvement. Some of us are single, some of us are in committed relationships.

Q: How did Nashuva start?
Rabbi Naomi Levy founded Nashuva in June 2004. Rabbi Levy was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City. She served as the Rabbi at Mishkon Tephilo in Venice, California, for seven years, before leaving to write three best-selling books, To Begin Again, Talking to God, Hope Will Find You and Einstein and the Rabbi. Rabbi Levy speaks on Jewish spiritual issues to audiences around the country, and has appeared on Oprah and The Today Show. She founded Nashuva to create a passionate, engaging Jewish experience for all.

Q: What if I’m only half Jewish? Or one-quarter? What if my spouse isn¹t Jewish? What if I¹m not Jewish at all?
Those of us with interfaith backgrounds experience Nashuva as a safe and inspiring place to grow and be nourished. You’ll find a Judaism that is true to its roots, profound and accessible. And everyone is welcome.

Q: Can I bring my kids?
Yes, please do!  Children are a welcomed part of the Nashuva community. The service is joyful and accessible — it features great music by the Nashuva Band.  Our spirited service keeps kids engaged, particularly as they approach Bar and Bat Mitzvah age.  Kids of all ages enjoy the service!

Nashuva is wonderful for the whole family! At Nashuva, all ages come together to be lifted higher.

Q: Is Nashuva just a service?
No. We also engage in social action projects throughout the year. Nashuva is committed to actively working to heal our world. We seek to engage people of other faiths and hope to create true interfaith partnerships.

Q: So is Nashuva a synagogue, or what?
It’s a community. We don¹t have a building or a building fund. We don¹t have dues or membership. We meet for community service and prayer. New people are always joining, and always welcome.

Q: If I go, will I be asked for money? For membership? Are there any dues?
Nashuva is supported entirely by donations. People can give (or not) of their own free will. Nashuva is a very different kind of community: there are no dues, no membership, no tickets. Everyone is welcome. We offer our monthly Shabbat services to the entire community, so everyone can enjoy the wisdom and beauty of Judaism. To do so, however, we rely on your support and encourage donations.

Q: I went to synagogue as a kid and it was boring. Is Nashuva boring?
No. The service is joyful and accessible — it features great music by the Nashuva Band. Afterwards, there are delicious refreshments and you can mingle with other interesting people.

Q: Is Nashuva a singles service?
Many singles attend, but people of all ages and relationships are encouraged to join us.

Q: What does “Nashuva” mean?
The Hebrew word “Nashuva” means “we will return.” Nashuva is a community dedicated to the art of returning — to life, to self, to dreams, to community, to hope, and to God.

Q: Are you affiliated with any movement or denomination?
No. We believe the path to returning is rooted in three fundamental
elements: (1) soulful prayer; (2) meaningful learning; and (3) social action based on the belief that God put us here to heal this world. Those elements transcend any affiliation.

Q: Why do you meet in a church?
When Nashuva first began, Rabbi Levy searched for a place to hold monthly services. Driving by the Brentwood Presbyterian Church, she had a good feeling about it and decided to inquire about the space. “May I speak to the Reverend?” Rabbi Levy asked the woman on the line who responded, “This is she.” In that moment, Rabbi Levy knew Nashuva had found its home. Since that day, Reverend Kirsten Linford-Steinfeld and her congregation have been generous and welcoming. We value their friendship and support beyond words.

Q: Okay, I’ll come. Will I feel awkward if I show up alone? Will I know what to do? Will everyone turn and stare at me?
Nashuva is a community that is constantly growing. At every service, we have many people who come for the first time. The service is easy to follow, the music is engaging, and Rabbi Levy makes sure everyone greets their neighbor.

Q: Nashuva’s 13 Principles: What are we about?
1. We are diverse and intergenerational.
2. We are welcoming and accepting.
3. We believe in questioning and in critical thinking.
4. We believe in deep, soulful prayer and in a God who is near and hears prayer.
5. We believe in a Judaism that is meaningful, vital and joyous.
6. We believe that true prayer leads to action.
7. We are passionately committed to social justice and social action.
8. We believe that each human being has a role to play in actively healing our world.
9. We are committed to thoughtful Jewish learning.
10. We believe in taking care of one another and in the power of community.
11. We believe in transformation, in the God-given power to remake our lives and our world.
12. We choose dialogue over dogma and we choose joy over fear.
13 We believe that opportunities for true interfaith partnership can heal the intolerance and fear that threatens to destroy our world.

Q: What can I expect at a Nashuva Shabbat service?
Walk into Nashuva on the first Friday of the month. You’ll find a room filled with people of all ages and backgrounds, many dressed in white, singing and praying from their hearts and souls. Prayers are led by the Nashuva Band– a soulful, multi-racial and interfaith band that really knows how to “pray music.”

Open our prayer book. You’ll find new translations of ancient prayers that speak to your soul and connect you to God.

Pray with us. You’ll feel enveloped by a sense of oneness and community.

Meditate with us. You’ll face the stillness you’ve been avoiding and emerge transformed.

Listen to Rabbi Levy’s teachings. You’ll receive wisdom and inspiration to illuminate your life.

Q: How long are Shabbat services?
Approximately 90 minutes. Services start promptly at 6:45 p.m. and last until roughly 8:15 p.m. Immediately following the service, we invite you to join us for food and drink at our Oneg.

Q: What is proper attire for Shabbat at Nashuva?
Attire is very casual but we encourage everyone to wear white in honor of the simple holiness of Shabbat.

Q: Where do we park for Shabbat service?
Unfortunately, Nashuva does not have its own parking lot. There is metered street parking along San Vicente Boulevard and additional street parking north of San Vicente and on Bundy. There are also “pay to park” lots located on San Vicente. We encourage people to arrive early given the traffic, and to find parking (which can be challenging at times).

Q: Can I watch Nashuva services on TV or online?
We try to livestream our services whenever possible.  They are livestreamed on our website, Facebook and YouTube. To view some of our archived services, please click here.

Q: Are the Nashuva prayer books for sale?
Currently, the prayer books are not for sale but we have received many requests and hope to have them available in the future.