Portland’s UnShul

Portland’s UnShul engages the Jewish soul with the best that Portland has to offer. On Shabbat afternoons we meet the Divine on the hiking trail and the dance studio, and on Friday night in people’s homes. We bring the highs of Shabbat prayer and the depths of Shabbat study into the rest of the week. We meet you where you want to be and celebrate an embodied approach to Judaism through dance, song, meditation and connecting with nature. We do some serious study too.

Check out the UnShul Facebook page to find out where they will meet, as well monthly updates about hikes, social justice actions and more. We can’t wait to meet you!

UnShul 2018 Happenings

Shabbat Happenings:

Havdallah, one Shabbat a month

Join us in rousing prayer and deep Torah discussion as we consciously bring the sweetness of Shabbat into the rest of the week. We will deepen our communal connections and get strength and inspiration from Torah as we resist, persist and navigate our way through our nation’s new ‘not normal’ in a format that is drenched in song to lift our spirits. Pot luck snacks are appreciated!

(For non-sustaining members, $18 in cash or check made out to As the Spirit Moves Us will be gratefully received).

Shabbat Morning Service, 10 am-12 pm, one Shabbat every month, (during rainy season)

(Indoors, Torah hike weather permitting, otherwise Torah study inside, at the home of Rabbah D’vorah.)

Lyrical, musical, joyful, meaningful, heart opening, transcendent—all words used to describe Shabbat morning davenning with Rabbah D. For all those for whom hiking was not your thing, but yearning for a beautiful Shabbat morning service in an intimate environment, this service is for you. And, if you love the woods, have no fear! Weather permitting we will venture into Gabriel Park for our Torah Hike. If the group agrees to stay inside, Torah study will be dry and warm. Can’t wait to see you and hear you lift your voice in prayer!

Torah on the Wild Side, rotating at different parks around Portland, 10 am-12 pm, one Shabbat every month, (during warmer months)

We’ll sit and join our voices in prayer if it’s not raining or there is shelter space, and then discuss the Torah portion of the week as we walk in the forest surrounded by birds and furry creatures. Please note that being outside means being flexible. If it is raining and the shelter isn’t available to us, we’ll pray as we walk rather than sitting. That means arriving on time is essential! Can’t wait to explore the Torah that nature has to offer us with you!

Friday night with the Rabbah, rotating at different homes around Portland, 7 pm, one Shabbat every month

We gather in Beloved Community to learn a little, sing a little, talk a lot and eat a beautiful meal that you help create with your pot luck contribution. Please join us!

Adult Education:

Reading Torah Through the Eyes of a Mystic, second Wednesday every month beginning at 7:00 pm

Open to Judaism’s deep well of wisdom through the lens of the Zohar, Sfat Emet and other mystical commentators. Beginning with chant and meditation we’ll open previously unavailable gates to insight.

(For non-sustaining members, $18 in cash or check made out to As the Spirit Moves Us will be gratefully received.)

Sundays With Our Friends

Join us as we live our commitment to deep engagement across religious traditions.

In 2018 Rabbah D’vorah will be teaching or co-preaching once a month at a Christian, Unitarian or Muslim community, bringing Torah’s wisdom to sister congregations invested in lifting up a moral voice and progressive values in Portland. There will always be time for conversation, so bring your inquiring mind and open heart to what is sure to be a highlight of our coming year together!

Stay tuned for Sunday offerings as the year unfolds. We will attempt to keep things to the fourth Sunday, but of course that won’t always be possible….

Additional Events:

Holy Wow! Celebrating Jewish Time in Community:

Every year we hold a Seder and Chanukah party and we are looking forward to sharing the High Holy Days with you too!

Pop up social action events:

Vigils, marches and gatherings several times a month supporting the Water Protectors, Immigrant and Refugee rights, Rising Up Against Hate, Rising Up in support of Women, LGBTQ peoples, Muslims, those without documentation, Black Lives Matter, Climate Change, Living Wage, Homeless awareness and more (Pioneer Square, Dawson Park, etc. determined by what is happening in the moment!)

Ways to Support the UnShul:

  • PayPal: http://bit.ly/2uFu9N1
  • Portland UnShul’s Causes Fundraising page: http://bit.ly/2tnKN3d
  • Mailing a check made out to As the Spirit Moves Us, email unshuladmin@asthespiritmovesus.com for more details!

Rabbi Debra Kolodny (Rabbah D’vorah)

Rabbi Debra Kolodny has led passionate prayer and taught Torah in hundreds of venues in myriad ways, exploring Judaism as a path to awakened consciousness. She offers powerful guidance on environmentalism, Eco-Kashrut, musar, honoring sexual orientation and gender identity diversity, Jewish meditation, conscious community, deep ecumenism and more.

A mystic, tai chi and meditation practitioner, dancer, trained vocalist and veteran social justice activist, she has been a leader in movements for worker’s rights, economic justice, women’s, environmental, peace and LGBTQ causes since 1981.

Before founding The UnShul in Portland, Rabbah D’vorah served as the Executive Director of Nehirim, a national Jewish LGBTQ retreat and advocacy organization. In her last year she produced two ground-breaking conferences, one for LGBTQ Jewish clergy and the other for interfaith LGBTQ clergy to support the Black Lives Matter movement. Prior to her tenure at Nehirim she served as the rabbi at Pnai Or in Portland.

From 2002 until 2011 Rabbah D’vorah served as Executive Director of the headquarters office of the Jewish Renewal Movement: ALEPH. She was honored and blessed to work closely with the founder of Jewish Renewal, Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi zl’ during that time. While there she consulted to dozens of Jewish Renewal synagogues, led Birthright trips, managed the production of dozens of retreats and represented Jewish Renewal to the media, at national Jewish events and at transdenominational gatherings.

Rabbah D’vorah’s deep engagement and respect for many traditions is one of the most unique gifts offers the Portland community. A tai chi practitioner since 1996, Rabbah D’vorah retreated annually at Kashi Ashram, learning from Guru Ma Jaya Sati Baghavati from 2004 until 2010. From 2005 until 2011 she worked with Dr. Rudy Bauer privately and in weekly group meditation at the Washington Center for Consciousness Studies, where she learning energy healing and advanced meditation techniques. In 2011 she co-created and co-taught a week-long Jewish/Sufi workshop with Sufi Sheikh Ibrahim Baba filled with mystical practice, prayer and text study. In 2015 she conceived and co-led Bosom of Abraham: Rocking our Sufi, Jewish and Christian souls with Sufi Guide Arifa Byron and UCC Pastor Jennifer Brownell in Portland, Oregon bringing chant, zikr, learning and meditation together in a unique experienced that cultivated cross tradition healing expanded consciousness.

Rabbah D’vorah published Blessed Bi Spirit: Bisexual People of Faith in 2000 and has since published dozens of essays, interviews and blogs on prayer, ritual, Torah, sexuality and a spiritual/theological foundation for peace and human rights. Daily prayer, meditation, ecstatic dance and taiji help make life a glorious adventure! She graduated from Cornell in 1981, from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1985 and from the ALEPH Jewish Renewal Seminary in 2011.