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 a mere 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, who succeeded 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 two precious additions to their family, son, Carmel and 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

Our congregation has begun the process of searching for and hiring a new rabbi. For information and updates on our process please visit here or click on the picture.

Caring Connections and More

I Care, We Care, TEC Cares!

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

Volunteer opportunity: The ALS Association is looking for volunteers to visit home-bound people with ALS once a week. Teens would be welcome. Please contact with Barbara Porush: 818-429-5686b[email protected]

Bereavement Support Group Open to the Community: Our Bereavement group will meet every 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month.

Al-Anon meets every Wednesday at TEC, 7:00-8:15PM. 

Be Involved - Click here for a calendar of upcoming events.

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. 

Community Outreach/Caring Connection presents New support group forming at TEC: Caregiver Support Group - May 15th,11:00am ALL TOPICS ENCOURAGED (dementia, behaviors, finances, Alzheimer, aging, etc.) Hear, share,learn, discuss, resolve issues in caring for loved ones. Click here for the flyer - Open to the community.

Chai Lights

Is Facebook Ruining our Democracy. Join us at this month's Men's Club Brunch Speaker Series for an eye opening talk on the impact of Social Media on the future of our electoral system by Jose Marichal Ph.D. Professor of Political Science at California Lutheran University. Sunday November 12, 10:30 AM in the Social Hall. $10 per person. $8 for Men's Club members.

TEC Book Club - Join us to read and discuss "The REplacement Life"  - Tuesday November 21st. 7 P.M in the Scherr Conference Room. For more information contact Liz Groden at [email protected]

Be The Change - Tzedakah campaign - Are you ready to be the change? Suggested donation of $5.

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

                  

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!

 

 

 

 

Religious School 2017-2018

Open House

    Sunday October 22 - Grades TK, K, 1,2
    Tuesday, October 24 - Grades 3-7
    Wednesday, October 25 - Grades 3-7

Mitzvah Day

    Sunday, November 5

 

Infant Care Now Registering!

Infant Care Now Registering!

Now Offering Full-time Infant Care from 3 months on. 

Small caretaker - child ratio.
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].

Registration Form

Support Temple Etz Chaim everytime you shop

Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases when you shop at AmazonSmile - smile.amazon.com.

Agoura Hills Hand Car Wash "Wash Bucks" Program

Find out here how you can help support TEC every time you wash your car or shop at Agoura Hills Hand Car Wash.

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.