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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
 

The Creative Writing Havurah, Chaya Grossberg,  chayagrossberg@yahoo.com

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.

Documentary Films Havurah, Ellen Pader

This group brings together people of all ages who are passionate about (or at least very interested in) learning through the art and substance of the documentary film genre. This havurah will choose films as a group, stream them between meetings, and gather monthly to eat, socialize, and discuss all facets of the film. Regular monthly meetings will allow members to get to know each other well over time and become increasingly more comfortable stating opinions and engaging in thought-provoking discussions about a variety of themes including potentially controversial topics in the films. The group may use program funds to see new documentary releases in the cinema together or attend a screening at a museum related to an installation. Monthly meetings are held on the second Thursday of the month at 6:30 pm.

The Found Tribe: A Jews of Color Havurah, Emet Marwell

Are you a Jew of Color (JOC) looking for a tight-knit community with others who truly understand both the challenges and joys of being a JOC? Join The Found Tribe, a havurah for self-identified JOCs to build community, find support, go on fun adventures, and just hang out. 

*A note on the name: Out of the 12 Tribes of Israel, 10 are considered lost. Many have theorized that specific pockets of Jewish communities (who often could be considered People of Color) around the world are descendants of one of the Lost Tribes. The name “The Found Tribe” evokes a sense of belonging and reclamation of JOC’s place in Jewish spaces. 

Healing Circle Havurah, Bonnie Diamond, health@bonniediamond.com
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. 


Hearing Our Voices, Knowing Our Stories, Tiertza -Leah Schwartz, tschwart@smith.edu

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.

Hiking Havurah, Marla Brodsky

Enjoy scenic, moderate hikes each month with a consistent group of people, all genders, ages 18 and up. Build community while exploring the trails around us. 

Jews Read Palestinian Stories, Judi Wisch

Many of us grew up celebrating the 20th century miracle of Israel reborn as political state. Our hearts are breaking over the unimaginable violence and loss of life of Israelis and Palestinians this year. Might reading the personal narratives of Palestinians over this last century shed light on our understanding of the conflict? Might we be able to simultaneously hold the stories and pain of both peoples?   This monthly intergenerational gathering is an opportunity to come together with others who like to read and who are interested in better understanding the experience of Palestinians through their own voices. Participants will help select what is read, and may include books (fiction and non-fiction), short stories, and poetry. Meetings will be held on the third Sunday of each month from 4:00-6:00 pm. The first gathering is scheduled for February 18. If you are interested in learning more, please fill out this short Google form 

Mah Jongg Havurah, Beverly Blatt, bblattslp@gmail.com
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.

Storytelling, Chaya Grossberg

Join this monthly group to craft and to share your stories.  The focus will be on storytelling as a performance art, not a support group vibe. Themes will vary and speakers can ask for positive and constructive feedback from the group, if desired. Participants will work with humor, emotional evocation, physical scenery, painting a picture, and different storytelling styles. The first meeting will be held on February 6 at 6:00 pm at the Lilly Library in Florence.

Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse Havurah   

In this Havurah we will meet to share our stories of our childhood sexual abuse in hopes that connecting in a group will help us heal collectively. We will read healing texts – prayers, poems and even sing songs. Group members can bring art, poems and songs that they created that are helping with their healing process. We will share our pain and be witnessed by others. We will end with a meditation. During our shares we will simply witness and listen and not respond to anything the person shared. We know that being heard and having space held for us is how we transform our isolating pain to an empowering connection. Our shares can be about what happened in childhood or anything else we are dealing with currently. For the sake of everyone in the room, our shares won’t contain graphic details. If our abusers are Jewish and give us complicated feelings regarding Judaism, we will work to disentangle the abuse from Judaism and find ways to heal with Jewish prayers. If our abusers are family members, we will find ways to create new family, and new loving relationships. We will do rituals to remove the abuse from our bodies. We will find ways to not be steered by these deep wounds anymore. We know that healing is possible, especially when we are together, especially when we share our pain and when we hold the pain of others. This will be a peer-led group. It is not therapy and will not be run by a therapist. We will meet the second Thursday of every month at 7:15pm starting on October 12 in classroom 2 at CBI. Email Amy Stein to be connected to the leader of this havurah or just show up. If you wish to remain anonymous you can email Amy with a different email or name. We won’t disclose any information that is shared in the meetings nor will we disclose who comes to the meetings. All genders welcome. 

Ukulele Havurah, Donna Sarro, donnasar24@gmail.com
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.

Visual Artists Havurah, Jennifer Lotstein, jenniferlotstein@gmail.com
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.



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. 

Mon, July 22 2024 16 Tammuz 5784