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What is the Havurah Initiative?

Havurah: An Experiment in Jewish Gathering” is an initiative hosted by Congregation B’nai Israel which provides support to individuals and families who are interested in gathering and building community with others. We want to support you in developing homegrown, peer-led, Jewish gatherings.  The goal of this initiative is to provide a platform for people to fill in gaps they experience in current Jewish programming and offerings.

There are many ways for us to gather with others to find meaning at the intersection of our Jewish identities – as parents, young adults, spiritual seekers,  members of the queer community, etc. Each of our havurot will be organized around different themes, such as: Young Adults, Jewish Mindfulness and Meditation, Rosh Chodesh (New Moon Ritual), Interfaith/Blended Families, Young Families, LGBT Folks.

A Havurah must have a minimum of 7 members, meet 9 times per year or more, have a Jewish focus and share leadership among its members. These are intended to be small groups of committed members who meet regularly. Each havurah must have a connector who coordinates the logistics of the group and is responsible for reporting. This initiative is funded by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation which provides a stipend to connectors for the first two years and program funds to all havurot for the first five years. 

Want to learn more about the Havurah Initiative? 
Read more at the Harold Grinspoon Foundation and watch a short video.

Join a Havurah

Interested in joining a Havurah?

Fill out this Interest Form here to let us know what on-going Havurot you're interested in joining, and/or which new ones you are interested in!

Current Havurot that are open to new members:

First Friday: Zeydi Gold Shapiro, sgoldshapiro@gmail.com

First Friday Havurah is an egalitarian minyan that comes together once a month for a Shabbat service and meal together. First Friday celebrates all leadership abilities and styles and encourages active participation of young-adults.

Hearing Our Voices Havurah: Tiertza-leah Schwartz, tschwart@smith.edu

Hearing our Voices Knowing our Stories is a monthly  Havurah discussion group talking about women in Jewish texts. We meet on the second Tuesday of each month from 5:15 to 6:45 on Zoom. Our goal is to learn about the stories of these women and think about the implications of their actions at the time they occurred and for us today. The group is ongoing and requires a regular commitment. This Havurah provides several source books for members that guide our discussions. 

The Ohel Minyan, Sara Farber, sara.farber@gmail.com

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! 

Start a New Havurah

Want to start your own Havurah or have ideas for new groups?

We are currently accepting applications for new Havurot.  Each havurah needs to have a "havurah connector" who serves as a lead organizer.  While the havurot are intended to be non-hierarchical and peer-led, the coordinator plays a critical role in helping to recruit, market and administer the group.  The coordinators are paid a $1000 stipend for their work. Rolling deadline for applying, one year commitment to the project.

To learn more and to apply to start a Havurah, click here

Thu, January 27 2022 25 Shevat 5782