About Our Rabbis

Rabbi Hannah Dresner


photo courtesy: Anita Laura Fonseca

Senior Or Shalom Rabbi Hannah Dresner received rabbinic ordination and ordination in spiritual direction from ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal. She comes to the rabbinate with experience as an educator, piloting curricula in the arts at Northwestern University and creating participatory programs for the Spertus Museum of Judaica in Chicago.

Rabbi Hannah is a regular contributor to Rabbis Without Borders, and My Jewish Learning, where you can find more of her writings. Read further writings and reflections in the From the Rabbi section of our website.

Hannah & Ross PortraitA founding member of Chicago’s post denominational minyan, Lomdim, and of Or Zarua, the Reconstructionist Chavurah of the East Bay, Rabbi Hannah has facilitated large-scale High holiday services for Congregation Netivot Shalom in Berkeley where she co-leads a niggun and meditation group. She serves Reform congregation B’nei Torah in Brentwood, CA as visiting rabbi, and travels extensively to teach chassidic texts, the art of prayer and niggun as spiritual practice. Last August she served as a featured prayer leader and speaker at the shabbaton commemorating Reb Zalman in Boulder. Rabbi Hannah is a member of the four person Jewish Renewal Bet Din, has completed a CLAL (The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership) student fellowship, and has been selected as a new blogger for Rabbis Without Borders.

IMG_7263Rabbi Hannah is delighted to be Or Shalom’s new rabbi and is very much looking forward to the exciting possibilities the future holds.  She believes that what enlivens religious community is our sense of its relevance to the questions we are presently living. A synagogue community attains its fullest resonance when its every program answers to an expressed or perceived need, whether that need is to satisfy an intellectual curiosity, experiment in a modality of opening to the divine, a need for social connection or support in aspects of family life, whether it is a need in the realm of social justice, to mark comings of age, to lament or bear witness or be witnessed, a need of help in cultivating gratitude or restraint or courage, or in holding one of the myriad dualities of life, and on.

Rabbi Hannah embraces the spectrum of Jewish truths and is committed to offering the broadest possible platform upon which to build the works of art that are our lives. She supports a wide range of ways in which to experience Judaism so that our religious lives truly address our human needs, and so that we flourish. As Or Shalom’s rabbi she will foster inclusive community embracing those coming to the tradition for the first time, educated Jews and those once estranged, blended families of every flavour, individuals of all capacities, all ethnic, racial and gender pluralities. She looks forward to her relationships with congregations of all ages, each of us seen and ministered to, given voice, offered enrichment, partnered with appropriate sub-communal affinity groups and pastorally companioned.

Rabbi Hannah will be retiring as Or Shalom’s Senior Rabbi November 2024.

In the words of Rabbi Hannah Dresner

Rabbi Arik Labowitz

Rabbi Arik Labowitz is a multifaceted spiritual leader, educator, and musician, deeply committed to fostering connections, compassion, and wisdom within the Jewish tradition. Born into a legacy of Jewish Renewal, with parents Rabbi Phil Labowitz and the late Rabbi Shoni Labowitz z”l, Arik’s formative years were enriched by learning from Reb Zalman and his early students during weekend retreats at his family’s South Florida home.

Eager to delve deeper into his spiritual path, Arik journeyed to Israel to immerse himself in traditional life and studies, spending transformative years at Yeshivat Machon Meir and Darche Noam/Shapells in Jerusalem from 1995 to 1997. Returning to North America, he continued his studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, embodying a commitment to a diverse and enriched understanding of Jewish tradition.

Over the past two decades, Rabbi Arik has played pivotal roles in various Jewish leadership capacities. From 2007 to 2021, he served as the spiritual leader of Congregation Eitz Or, where his unique fusion of tradition and innovation created a vibrant and inclusive Jewish spiritual community. Arik’s impact extends beyond Eitz Or, as a regular visiting leader for communities along the West Coast, including Kol Shofar in Marin, CA, the Aquarian Minyan in Berkeley, CA, and Shir Hayam in Bainbridge, WA. Rabbi Arik’s heartfelt teachings and engaging services have inspired congregants of all ages.

Rabbi Arik, along with his wife, Aliza, and their two sons, Judah and Noah, recently relocated to Vancouver, drawn by the desire to be closer to family as well as the captivating natural beauty of the water and mountains.

Excitement abounds as Rabbi Arik joins Or Shalom, Vancouver’s Jewish Renewal congregation and spiritual playground. Partnering with Rabbi Hannah, he eagerly anticipates contributing to the community’s growth and evolution into the next era of Jewish life in Vancouver. With a harmonious blend of tradition and innovation, Rabbi Arik Labowitz continues to inspire, educate, and create meaningful connections within the vibrant tapestry of Jewish spiritual life.

Rabbi Arik is Or Shalom’s Assistant Rabbi, since November 2023, and has agreed to serve as full-time rabbi for two years after Rabbi Hannah’s retirement in November 2024.  He can be reached at rabbiarik@orshalom.ca

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One Response to About Our Rabbis

  1. nblipsett@gmail.com says:

    Dearest Reb Hannah,
    I am so grateful to you for ALL you show-give-bring- add to my Life.
    With the Greatest Love and Respect ,
    Nancy and Becky

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