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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:

Hilltown Havurah: Havdalah, Bonfire and Connection
Marla Brodsky,

All hilltown adults and friends are invited to join a monthly oudoor gathering on Saturday evenings for havdalah, discussion, food and drinks.

First Friday: Zeydi Gold-Shapiro,

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.

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! 

New Havurot that are forming:

Jewish Holiday Celebration Havurah

This new havurah welcomes people of all ages to gather for Jewish holidays and/or Shabbat. Gatherings will be outdoors in the summer, spring, and fall, and will likely be on Zoom in the winter as a Covid precaution. Havurah members share leadership and this group invites the richness of varied Jewish knowledge among its members. This Havurah is projected to be multigenerational, everyone from babies to elders included, LGBTQ inclusive and to hopefully focus on sharing of holidays in unique ways that meet the needs of the members.

Israeli Politics and Culture

This havurah will engage 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 will also discuss how these issues affect American Jews. Each month a different member will choose an article and prepare several questions for the havurah discussion. 

Healing Circle Havurah

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 will foster ways to listen to our inner wisdom and provide a safe space to cultivate kindness, patience and love. The group will meet in person, once a month on a Sunday evening, following Covid protocols. 

Family Havdalah Havurah

Let us know if you are interested in potluck havdalah gatherings with other families one Saturday per month. 

A connector is needed for the Jewish Holiday Celebration Havurah as well as the Family Havdalah Havurah. Connectors manage communication, planning, and reporting and receive a stipend of $1,000 per year for the first two years. Please contact Amy Stein to learn more. 

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

Fri, July 1 2022 2 Tammuz 5782