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Our website gives you a sense of who we are, but only by worshipping with us, learning with us, and sharing Shabbat dinner with us, will you get to know the real Shir Ha-Ma'alot (SHM).
We pride ourselves on being a warm, welcoming congregation with inspiring clergy and educators. Come discover why so many families choose SHM as their spiritual home and our school as the religious education destination for their children. Visit our website and then VISIT US!

SHM In The News . . .

Orange County Register

Most Influential 2014: Rabbi Richard Steinberg
Job: Senior rabbi; Congregation Shir Ha-Ma’alot

Bio: Received his bachelor of science in criminal justice, master of arts in Hebrew letters and master’s in marital family therapy. He was ordained as a rabbi in 1995 and joined the Irvine congregation in 2001.

Why he is an influencer: In 2014, Steinberg worked with the Jewish Federation and Family Services and other agencies to build a home for Jewish young adults with special needs who do not want to live with their parents anymore but who cannot live on their own. Steinberg also began the process of redesigning the synagogue into a center for Orange County Judaism,

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Rituals Tough to Mix, but Peace Is Plentiful at Interfaith Event

The Triple Celebration for Christmas, Hanukkah and Ramadan spreads familiarity of customs and beliefs in 3 faiths.

December 08, 2002 | Monte Morin | Times Staff Writer

Call it a religious triple-header. On Saturday, for a second year, the National Conference for Community & Justice hosted its Triple Celebration -- an interfaith observance of Christmas, Hanukkah and Ramadan.

The event drew more than 300 to the Newport Beach Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for an evening of religious ceremonies and dinner.

Sponsors said the event was widely attended because this year the holidays fall in close proximity. The Muslim holy month of Ramadan ends 11 days earlier each year and visits every month of the calendar. This year it ended Friday.

The event is aimed at fostering friendship and understanding among religions -- a task that can sometimes turn awkward. Just planning the dinner can get tricky.

Each faith imposes its own dietary restrictions, and organizers encountered a new wrinkle this year. Since the event was held in a Mormon temple, meals could not include tea or coffee, which contain caffeine. This caused a small controversy among lovers of those beverages, said coordinator Shazeen Mufti. "We had to explain to people that it would be the same as if we brought a ham into a mosque or synagogue," she said.

The timing of dinner is also a matter of diplomacy. Last year, the event fell during Ramadan, and Muslim participants fasted during daylight hours. "Planning was difficult because they wanted to eat right away -- they'd gone all day without food," Mufti said. "We ended up having two dinners, one early one for the Muslims and a second one later in the evening. That was tough."

Other complications have less to do with faith. For example, as Rabbi Rick Steinberg demonstrated a Havdalah ceremony -- a ritual that marks the end of the Sabbath -- he was prevented from lighting a braided candle traditionally extinguished by dipping it in a glass of wine. "Due to fire codes, we're unable to light the candle tonight," Steinberg told onlookers.

Despite such challenges, participants said they relished the opportunity to share knowledge of their faiths.

"For Muslims, it gives us an opportunity to come out and put a face on our religion, rather than have someone else put a face on it," said Imam Yassir Fazaga, of the Islamic Foundation of Orange County.

Steinberg, of Temple Shir Ha-Ma'alot in Irvine, said he too was thankful for the chance to speak to adherents of other faiths. "I want to talk about the most controversial part of Hanukkah," the Rabbi told the audience. "That is: How is that darn thing spelled?"

Ha-Ma'alot in Irvine, said he too was thankful for the chance to speak to adherents of other faiths. "I want to talk about the most controversial part of Hanukkah," the Rabbi told the audience. "That is: How is that darn thing spelled?"

OC Leaders Discuss Challenges of Public Comment Sessions

By NORBERTO SANTANA JR. December 5, 2013

Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait largely struck the right balance in handling hate speech hurled at a city councilman from the public comment dais earlier this year, concluded a panel of experts who gathered to discuss how public comment sessions should be handled.

Anaheim resident William Fitzgerald triggered a countywide rebuke when he hurled an anti-Semitic and homophobic verbal attack on city Councilman Jordan Brandman during an October council meeting.

That day, Tait interrupted Fitzgerald and warned him to maintain decorum and condemned his remarks. But he did not restrain Fitzgerald, who recently lost an ACLU-backed First Amendment lawsuit against the county, from his time at the public comment dais.

While Tait’s council colleagues criticized him at the time as part of an organized attack campaign against the mayor, the experts gathered Wednesday night at the North Orange County Community College District Board Room agreed he pretty much got it right.

“[Tait] actually handled it like the playbook you outlined tonight,” said County Supervisor Todd Spitzer, who was in the audience for the event.

The gathering was put together by county supervisors Chairman Shawn Nelson, who enlisted help from Rusty Kennedy of the Orange County Human Relations Commission and Lacy Kelly from the Association of California Cities, Orange County.

The idea was to give elected officials a forum to talk through what they can do during tough meetings, Nelson said. Read More

The Names Database

Read the article celebrating Shir Ha-Ma'alot's dedication to bringing the names of all who were lost in the Holocaust to the Yad Vashem Memorial in Israel.

Lifetime of Belonging

(JLife, Orange County Jewish Life)
Cantor Arie Shikler, the longest serving Jewish clergyperson in Orange County, describes Congregation Shir Ha-Ma’alot as “a really good garden. All you have to do is water it.”
Shikler, who has served the congregation since 1970, waxes enthusiastic about Shir Ha-Ma’alot’s creative spirit and warmth, the chemistry between the clergy and the “energy, spirit and tremendous will to work hard” of Rabbi Richard Steinberg. Shikler says that Steinberg “rejuvenated the congregation” when he came here 10 years ago, infusing it with new programs. While the congregation has gone from 280 to 650 families during that time, “the spirit and warmth remained,” he adds.
Sat, August 18 2018 7 Elul 5778