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Havurah Initiative: How Do You Want to Gather?

Havurah: An Experiment in Jewish Gathering” 
The Havurah Initiative encourages the formation of ongoing, intimate, peer-led groups that share and explore a Jewish focus of their own choosing. Havurot bring a richness of Jewish experience, personal meaning and interpersonal connection to their members. Havurot are groups of 7-15 people who gather monthly.

Fill out the interest form below and let us know how you want to gather. Our Havurah Coordinator, Amy Stein, will follow up with you soon.

Current havurot open to new members

Healing Circle Havurah, Bonnie Diamond,
The Healing Circle Havurah is a spiritual support group for people living with illness. It is based on the belief that illness can deepen our spiritual journeys, and provide an opportunity to connect more deeply with ourselves, with the sacred, and with those that we care about. The group fosters ways to listen to our inner wisdom and provides a safe space to cultivate kindness, patience and love. Monthly meetings are held on Sundays at 4:00, in person at CBI. 

Visual Artists Havurah, Jennifer Lotstein,
This group welcomes 10-12 artists to share work and support each other, to discuss spiritual growth through art, to study Jewish artists, and to take field trips to galleries and museums. This group will meet monthly on the last Friday of the month from 3:00-5:30 pm.

Ukulele Havurah, Donna Sarro,
Fans of the ukulele unite! Whether you are an experienced player or are brand new to this instrument and want to learn, this havurah is for you. Monthly gatherings are held on Wednesday evenings from 6:00-8:00 and include playing, learning, singing, and exploring music ranging from Jewish music and klezmer to all kinds of secular music that members of the group want to play together. Some instruments will be available to borrow.

Exploring Aging Havurah, Alice Szlosek, 
For people 65+ to discuss the joys and challenges of aging and to support each other as we age. Discussion themes will be selected by members of the group and may include: aging alone or in relationships; fear of disability and/or losing independence; end of life considerations; finding purpose, meaning, joy at this stage of life; changing identities; investigating Jewish wisdom on aging. This group will meet on the last Tuesday of each month 3:00-5:00 pm in members’ homes. 

The Shoah (Holocaust) Community Education Havurah, Alan Berkenwald, 
This group welcomes members to discuss the meaning of the Holocaust in their lives, and who are potentially interested in educating the larger community through speakers, field trips, events, and collaboration with schools.  

The Creative Writing Havurah, Chaya Grossberg,
People of all ages are invited to join monthly writing exploration and sharing on a variety of topics including intergenerational Jewish themes. Meetings will be screen-free; bring your notebooks and pens instead of computers. The connector has extensive experience leading writing groups and will guide the group towards a shared leadership model to allow everyone to lead writing prompts and discussions. Monthly meetings are held on Mondays from 5:00-6:30pm. All meetings will be held in person. This is a screen-free havurah, no computers or Zoom.

Caregivers Havurah: Naomi Tannen,
A group of people who take care of loved ones who are ill or differently abled to connect through the challenges and sweetness of being a caregiver. Monthly meetings are held on Zoom on Saturdays. 1-2 openings available. 

Hearing Our Voices, Knowing Our Stories, Tiertza -Leah Schwartz,
Interested in learning about the stories of women in Jewish texts? Wondering what their relevance is to us today? Join for a monthly discussion of Jewish women in text. We'll read, learn, and explore the stories of these powerful ancestors. We meet monthly on the second Tuesday of the month from 5:15-6:45 mostly on Zoom and occasionally in person.

Mah Jongg Havurah, Beverly Blatt,
The Mah Jongg havurah  brings players together for playing, conversation, and learning, including exploring the history of Jewish women playing Mah Jongg. All levels are welcome including those new to the game who can learn from experienced players in the group. Meetings are held on the first Thursday of the month in the evening.

The Ohel Minyan, Sara Farber,
The mission of the Ohel Minyan Havurah is to nurture and sustain a halakhically traditional, egalitarian, multi-generational Jewish community in Northampton, MA. We are a community built around our love of communal prayer and a desire to help one another through life stages, challenges, losses, and celebrations. We meet daily for morning minyan in the backyards of the minyan coordinators. Everyone is welcome. Sign up here to let us know you will be coming to minyan. Visit our website for details. Join us for the monthly Rosh Hodesh Minyan at CBI also! 

Israeli Politics and Culture, Rivka Cooper,
This havurah engages its members in discussions about the politics and culture of Israel using articles from sources such as Haaretz, The Times of Israel, etc. to find interesting pieces about topics facing modern Israelis. We also discuss how these issues affect American Jews. This havurah is committed to being a safe place for everyone to share their opinions. Each month a different member will choose an article and prepare several questions for the havurah discussion. Meetings are held monthly on Sunday afternoons.

New Havurot

We are excited to develop several new Havurot to create more spaces for connection and gathering in the CBI community. Havurah members do not need to be CBI members. Anyone from the broader community is welcome to join. 

We're interested to find out how you'd like to gather in these coming months and years.

Please share your ideas for starting a new havurah. CBI provides the support and resources to help you launch a group. The Harold Grinspoon Foundation offers a stipend to Connectors* for the first two years, as well as program funding for the first five years.

Options might include:
A Shabbat dinner havurah
A Rosh Chodesh group
A hiking/outdoor adventure havurah
Jews and Brews 
Family Shabbat and Holidays Havurah
Baking Havurah
Any interest or affinity group that resonates with you. The sky's the limit!

*Connectors: Connectors are people who support the formation of the Havurah by reaching out to individuals who are looking for connection; listening to the community's interests and ideas; helping the group develop expectations around scheduling, communication, and decision-making; and facilitating the members of the group in taking full ownership of all aspects of the havurah. If you are interested in this stipended role, please indicate below. 

Tue, December 5 2023 22 Kislev 5784