Our History

Congregation Ohr Tzafon ("Northern Light") started with the dream of establishing a synagogue in northern San Luis Obispo County.

A get-together was scheduled at City Park in Paso Robles in August of 1996 to assess interest. The response was positive and enthusiastic. Our first goal was  to establish a Torah School for the Jewish children in our new community and in September 1996, our Torah School was established with 7 students.

Our first Shabbat evening service was held on December 13, 1996, in a spirit of joy and excitement that continues to this day. We met for over a year at Plymouth Congregational Church in Paso Robles, and we are grateful to that congregation for their support. In Aprl 1997, we acquired our first Torah. In the summer of 2004, we were able to purchase a second Torah that was written in 1945 and came to us from Russia via England. 


On February 28, 1998, we held our first Shabbat Evening Service in our own small rented storefront in Paso Robles. Congregation Ohr Tzafon was completely lay led, depending on members to lead religious services, teach classes and volunteer their efforts to conduct the business of the synagogue.

In 2003, with 60 members, we decided to affiliate with the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ). We welcomed our first student rabbi, Rabbi Stacey Blank.  Janice Mehring (now our Rabbi Janice) began serving our congregation as our Cantorial Soloist in 2003 as well. She was subsequently ordained and became our first rabbi in 2010.

In 2006, we were able to purchase a building in Atascadero, and Congregation Ohr Tzafon had a permanent home.

Under the guidance of URJ and Rabbi Janice Mehring, we are devoted volunteers and lay leaders, a community bound together by our Judaism and the love of this congregation. We welcome guests and new members to join our celebration of Judaism in the North County of San Luis Obispo.

Fri, October 20 2017 30 Tishrei 5778