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About Us

Sha'arei Orah is a Modern Orthodox congregation in Lower Merion. Founded in 2016, our weekly Shabbat morning minyan has grown to serve over 70 families.

We currently rent space at Adath Israel's Early Childhood Learning Center, 250 North Highland Avenue. Use the main entrance (facing Old Lancaster Road) and follow signs to our designated areas.

We are led by the lay leadership of our Board and our Spiritual Leader, Rabbanit Leah Sarna. Our Shabbat morning drasha is often given by volunteers from our community.

Please join us to experience our uplifting tefillah and the warm, welcoming environment of our community!

Mission Statement

Sha'arei Orah is a Zionist, Modern Orthodox congregation that aims to cultivate an inclusive and welcoming environment while remaining strongly committed to Torah and halakha. We are striving to build a space for serious and sincere tefillah with a focus on the religious and spiritual growth of our members.

Board Members

Below is a list of our current board members. Board terms are 2 years in length. Term years begin annually on or around Rosh Chodesh Elul.

Isaac Binkovitz
Ari Charlestein
Avi Feldblum
Hannah Hamermesh
Arielle Landau
Roseanne Lesack, Vice President
Nathaniel Moldoff
Daniel Rabin, President Emeritus
Susie Ratner, President - president@shaareiorah.org
Moriah SimonHazani

Spiritual Leader

 

Sha’arei Orah's Spiritual Leader is Rabbanit Leah Sarna. 

Rabbanit Sarna is an award-winning Jewish educator who is passionate about building intergenerational community around Torah and Mitzvot. She is also currently serves as a member of the faculty and the Director of Teen Programs at the Drisha Institute for Jewish Education, where she teaches courses to adults during the year and runs an advanced, empowering beit midrash for teenage girls during the summer.

Before moving to Lower Merion, Rabbanit Sarna worked as Director of Religious Engagement at Anshe Sholom B’nai Israel Congregation in Chicago, the center of Orthodox life in a thriving urban Jewish community. In her first year in the position, she was recognized by the Jewish United Fund as one of Chicago’s “36 Under 36” honorees.

A native of Newton, Massachusetts, Rabbanit Sarna first fell in love with Torah learning as a student at the Maimonides School. She holds a cum laude degree with honors in Philosophy & Psychology from Yale University and was ordained at Yeshivat Maharat in 2018. She has also trained in pastoral care at Columbia Presbyterian and in Talmud and halakha at the Beit Midrash for Women at Migdal Oz, Drisha and the Center for Modern Torah Leadership. 

An awardee of the Covenant Foundation’s Pomegranate Prize in Jewish Education, Hadar’s Ateret Zvi Prize in Hiddushei Torah, and the Wexner Graduate Fellowship, Rabbanit Sarna’s published works have appeared in venues including The Atlantic, the Washington Post, and the Jewish Review of Books. With the support of the Sefaria Word-By-Word Fellowship, she is currently working on a book of Torah and halakhic guidance for pregnancy, childbirth and the beginning of life.

Rabbanit Sarna lives in Bala Cynwyd with her husband, Dr. Ethan Schwartz, a professor of Hebrew Bible at Villanova University, and their two sons.

Rabbanit Sarna can be reached at rabbanit@shaareiorah.org.

Thu, July 25 2024 19 Tammuz 5784