Contact: Melissa Balaban
Phone 323.634.1870
Address 5870 West Olympic Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90036
Board Chair Karen Hogan
Full Time Staff 18
2014 Expenses $2,900,000

Evaluator Quote

“IKAR has built innovation into [its] organizational DNA. IKAR will adapt and evolve its programs in order to always provide a valuable community to Jews in LA.”


Guides Published In



A new iteration of Jewish community based on the belief that social justice work – both local and global – remains a core expression and central obligation of Jewish religious life.

Why It's In Slingshot

Now in its tenth year, IKAR continues to prove that a synagogue must act as a hub of innovation and experimentation in order to flourish in 21st century Jewish life. For many Jews, a haze of conversations about building funds, membership fees, and leadership volatility clouds the value and purpose of congregational life. IKAR, Hebrew for “essence,” operates based on the idea that disaffected Jews can find value in the connectedness of congregations if presented with an engaging mix of social justice work and meaningful study and prayer. Today, IKAR engages more than 500 families, and its programs continually bring new families to the table, pushing other Jewish organizations across the country to also improve. Among IKAR’s innovations is Minyan Tzedek, which aims to engage every IKARite in hands-on activism through programs that include Global Partnership, Feeding our Neighbors, Green Action, and Organizing. IKAR mixes this social justice experience with study and prayer, holding weekly and High Holiday services and providing congregants with the chance to study Jewish texts and discuss soul-searching questions. IKAR clearly demonstrates that despite decreasing affiliation with synagogues, Jews continue to value congregational life when service, prayer, and meaningful learning create a balanced experience.

Ways To Get Involved

1. Join us for Saturday mornings, J’lem style Friday Nights, and Shabbat b’Yahad dinners. You’ll find yourself getting unstuck with the help of beautiful music, a loving community, and, of course, yummy food. View our calendar to see upcoming dates.

2. Minyan Tzedek: Minyan Tzedek is IKAR’s way of weaving the pursuit of justice, equality and dignity for all people into the fabric of everything we do as a community. Visit to get involved with our different paths: Campaign for Citizenship, Feeding Our Neighbors, Green Action, Global Partnership: Katira, and Gun Violence Prevention,

3. Adult Learning: Experiment with the boundaries of your daily life and spirituality. Join our Rabbis and your friendly neighborhood IKARites for a monthly spiritual challenge. Email to learn more.

Date Founded







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