WarmWelcomingIt just feels right

Beginnings...

The original members of Temple Etz Chaim first met in response to an ad placed in the “Conejo,” a local bi-weekly newspaper. Religious School “classes” were held in the waiting room of a local physician. The school ranged from kindergarten to Bar Mitzvah study. Religious services were just as primitive, initially held in a member’s finished garage. The Temple flourished, and the number of affiliated families grew. Worship services were moved to larger quarters in the nearby Methodist Church.

The Temple was incorporated in 1966 when a vote was held to decide whether the Temple would be conservative or reform. The vote was close, with Temple Etz Chaim becoming a conservative congregation. Some families left after the vote and organized Temple Adat Elohim.

The first religious leader was Cantor Shlomo Shuster. He drove in from Chatsworth for Friday night services and again on Saturdays if there was a Bar Mitzvah. After a few years, Rabbi David Winston was engaged as Temple Etz Chaim’s part-time rabbi. He later decided to become a college professor. Rabbi Maurice Pomerantz became Temple Etz Chaim’s first full-time Rabbi in 1967. Henry Brody served as its lay cantor from the early 1960s to 1992.

In the spring of 1967, the first Jewish wedding in the Conejo Valley was held at Monty’s. In his first contact with Thousand Oaks, then a community of 20,000 people, Rabbi Shimon Paskow officiated at that wedding. At the time, he was the Associate Rabbi of the Valley Jewish Community Center, which is now Temple Adat Ariel. In October 1969, when the Temple had only 28 dues-paying members, Rabbi Paskow became the Rabbi of Temple Etz Chaim. He visited every Jewish family that he could find in Thousand Oaks to invite them to join Temple Etz Chaim. He made everyone feel welcome. Over time, Temple Etz Chaim membership grew not little by little, but as Rabbi Paskow put it, "Yiddle by Yiddle.”

As new families continued to join the congregation, it became necessary to deal seriously with longer-range growth projections and plan accordingly. In 1968, Temple Etz Chaim acquired two and a half acres of land, and on November 10, 1968, ground was finally broken for its very own classroom/synagogue building, the first to be built in the Conejo Valley. In 1970, the building went up with sweat, toil and love. Congregants painted the doors and walls and built the shelves and cabinets. They did anything and everything that was needed to make the building complete. This building included two large rooms that were used for Shabbat services and social events. During the week, these rooms were divided into Religious School classrooms. The building also had a small kitchen where congregants prepared the food for the Oneg and other occasions. There were offices as well. This building was used for over 30 years until the year 2001.

In the years following Rabbi Paskow’s arrival, the Temple continued to evolve, growing in size and scope. The Temple was able to buy the property fronting Janss Road around 1980, giving it five full acres on which to build and expand. In his 1983 Yom Kippur sermon, Rabbi Paskow, in a heartfelt appeal, strongly urged the congregation to build a sanctuary. Designs were drawn up and construction begun with the first services held in the new sanctuary in May of 1985.

In 1990, Temple Ner Tamid of Simi Valley merged with Temple Etz Chaim, further enhancing its membership. Once again, Temple Etz Chaim was outgrowing its present facilities, needing to house its growing Religious School and Preschool while adding space for community activities. Ground was broken for an additional facility in August of 1999. The first phase, the Kane Community Center, opened in September of 2001. This building, which would eventually serve our growing community, would be used as offices and classrooms for the Religious School, Preschool and USY until the completion of Phase II. The original building built with such love in 1970, had to be demolished in order for the second phase of the new project to be completed. A final, very beautiful and moving, commemorative service was held, in which everyone who wished was invited to share memories of this very special building in Temple Etz Chaim’s history.

In December, 2002, only days after receiving the occupancy permit, members of Temple Etz Chaim came out in force to help move into the fully completed facility. Furniture, books, computers and a whole lot more were moved from the Kane Community Center to the Ner Tamid Education Center so that classes could be held in the new facility the next day. After refurbishing the Kane Community Center, the new complex was complete, offering beautiful classrooms and offices for the Religious School and Preschool, a large youth lounge, library, multipurpose room, adult lounge, art room, teacher’s lounge and absolutely gorgeous, state-of-the art playgrounds.

In June of 2000, after 30 years of dedicated service, Rabbi Shimon Paskow retired as Temple Etz Chaim’s full time Rabbi and became Rabbi Emeritus. To honor him, Temple Etz Chaim named the sanctuary the “Rabbi Shimon and Carol Paskow Sanctuary.”

On August 1, 2000, Temple Etz Chaim warmly welcomed Rabbi Richard Spiegel who came to us after ten years as Rabbi of Temple Agudas Achim in San Antonio, Texas. With his enthusiasm, inspiring sermons, constant smile, and terrific sense of humor, Rabbi Spiegel has become an integral part of the Temple Etz Chaim family. Just as Rabbi Paskow had in the past, Rabbi Spiegel was instrumental in raising money to complete our beautiful Ner Tamid Education and Kane Community Centers. On June 29, 2003, Rabbi Spiegel married his beautiful bride, Linda. A memorable and intimate ceremony was held at the Temple, with six to eight hundred congregants present to share in this wonderful simcha. As he has integrated into our community, he has become involved in United Synagogue activities as well, serving two terms as President of the Rabbinic Assembly and joining the Board of Jewish World Watch.

In August of 2001, Temple Etz Chaim also welcomed a new Hazzan to its congregation, Hazzan Pablo Duek, succeeding Cantor Jeffrey Cohen who had served the congregation as its first full time cantor since 1992. Hazzan Pablo relocated from Argentina, bringing his magnificent voice, warm personality and lovely wife, Julieta, to Temple Etz Chaim. Since joining our congregation, Pablo and Julieta have welcomed three precious additions to their family: their sons, Carmel and Ilan, and their daughter, Dahlia.

Temple Etz Chaim has a rich history and an exceptionally bright future. It has warm, spiritual and inspiring clergy leading its congregation in a magnificent facility. It has an outstanding Bureau of Jewish Education accredited Religious School and nationally accredited Early Childhood Education Center, an active United Synagogue Youth chapter, the vibrant Women of TEC, a thriving Men’s Club, numerous havurot and much more.

Rabbi Search

Save the Dates!

The Rabbinic Search Committee is happy to announce two candidates are visiting on the following dates:

Rabbi Ben Herman

Friday, October 26 - Sunday October 28, 2018

Rabbi Ari Averbach

Friday November 2 - Sunday, November 4, 2018

For more information, please visit the Rabbinic Search Information page.

Caring Connections and More

I Care, We Care, TEC Cares!

For more information and to be a part of Caring Connections visit our page.

Bereavement Support Group: meets the second and fourth Wednesday of the month.

Al-Anon in the Adult Lounge every Wednesday from 7:00-9:00PM.

Refuah Shelamah Requests: Can't make it to shul for a friend or loved one in need of a prayer for healing?  Send in any name you would like read at services (Shabbat, minyan or other) and a dedicated Temple congregant will stand and read the name. Just email your request to refuah.[email protected] with the details of the individual in need of healing. It is that easy and simple!  Because No one should be without a voice. 

 

Watch Online

 

Sponsor Friday Night Oneg and Saturday Morning Kiddush

Sponsor Oneg and Kiddush

If you'd like to sponsor Oneg and Kiddush, please fill out the form and return it to the front office. Follow the instructions on the form for payment.

 

 

Women of TEC Judaica Shop

Visit the Women of TEC Judaica Shop at Temple Etz Chaim! We carry a wide selection of Judaica gifts for every occasion. Visit the Women of TEC Judaica Shop web page for hours and featured items!

 

 

 

 

Preschool

Register for Preschool

Click here for a schedule of feesinformation form, and registration form.

Click here to view the ECE page on the website.

Parent and Me Classes

Wednesdays, 9:15 AM -10:30 AM. Storytime, art, music, Jewish traditions, crafts, and so much more.

Infant Care Now Registering!

Click here for infant care registration form.

Full Time Monday to Friday 7:30am - 6:00pm.

Space fills up fast, plan ahead and reserve your spot! To schedule a tour please contact the pre-school office at (805) 497-6852 or email us at [email protected].

See's Candy Fundraiser

Support Temple Etz Chaim Preschool through our See's Candy Fundraiser! See flyer below.

Shop with Scrip Gift Cards and Support Temple Etz Chaim

Purchase gift cards to your favorite outlets and help support Temple Etz Chaim.

Please e-mail Shari Mark at [email protected] or call Jessica Jacoby at the front office at 805-497-6891.

Register for Religious School

Register your son or daughter for Religious School here!

Currently registering for grades TK-12.

Mitzvah Day 2018

Please flyer here for our Religious School Mitzvah Day project.

GoodSearch

Earn Funds for TEC

When you search and shop with GoodSearch, you help Temple Etz Chaim earn money. How? Good Search is a search engine which donates 50-percent of its renveue to the charities and schools designated by its users.

Support Temple Etz Chaim everytime you shop on Amazon- Support us when you shop at smile.amazon.com and Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible to Temple Etz Chaim.