...Community and Families...Social Action and Tzedakah...Classes...Membership...FAQ...
Founded in 1968, Havurat Shalom is an egalitarian Jewish community in Somerville, Massachusetts where women and men come to pray and learn; explore, celebrate and grapple with Jewish tradition; work for social justice; and discuss a variety of Jewish concerns. This page offers some more details about the workings of the Havurah and a Frequently Asked Questions List.
Havurat Shalom is a community where people celebrate with each other in good times and support each other in hard times. We have danced at Jewish weddings and commitment ceremonies, watched the naming of babies, and rejoiced over each other's accomplishments. We also have come together for Kaddish minyans, visited each other during illness, and helped each other in times of need.
The Havurah is a welcoming place for families of all kinds. We often have fun and educational children's programming on Shabbat and holidays, and we invite children's active participation in the Havurah. Please see our services and events page for more information about this programming.
Havurat Shalom and its members have been involved with many kinds of social action over the years, including the sanctuary movement, helping homeless people, and the disability rights movement. Our Tzedakah Fund helps further the cause of tikkun olam (repairing the world) by making annual donations to various organizations.
Havurat Shalom offers public classes on a wide variety of topics of interest to the community. Please see our class schedule for a listing of our upcoming classes.
Havurah members collectively help make the Havurah thrive. They run Havurah services, sit on various committees, attend retreats, participate in the consensus decision-making process, and handle the upkeep of the Havurah building itself.
There are three times a year when the Havurah accepts new members. These membership periods are three weeks long and happen after the High Holidays, after Tu B'Shvat and after Shavuot. To be eligible to join, a prospective member needs to attend the Havurah regularly for four months. Prospective members should submit their interest in joining in writing during a membership period.
Anyone can become an associate member at any time during the year. See the form by the mailboxes at the Havurah for suggested dues for associate membership. Associate members get 50% off Havurah classes, access to the services of the Gmilut Hasadim committee, and the option of being on the Associate-Havnet and Havnot email lists.
Here are some questions we often get asked about the Havurah:
Yes, that's us (or at least a very young us)!
Havurat Shalom is not affiliated with any of these movements. The Havurah tends to be hard to label.
Services at Havurat Shalom are led by Havurah members. We have no clergy leadership positions.
Yes, several people reside at the Havurah. Both members and non-members have lived at the Havurah.
Havurat Shalom members make decisions about the functioning of the community at monthly business meetings. The decisions made at the meetings are made using a consensus process (vs. other methods such as a 2/3 majority vote, etc.). Consensus decision-making means (at least theoretically) that we have a non-hierarchical power structure: every person's opinion is as important as everyone else's. Two volunteers from the full membership serve for six months as co-coordinators to help facilitate this process and to handle day-to-day needs.
The number varies based on the comings and goings of the community, but we usually have somewhere between 30 and 35 full members at any one time.
Sorry, but we use retreats for community building among the members.
We don't have a dress code at the Havurah. You should wear what feels comfortable and respectful to you. At the Havurah you will see people in jeans and you will see people in suits.
At the Havurah we want our prayers to reflect our values of egalitarianism. Therefore, we use both feminine and masculine language to refer G-d and to people. We also use a wider variety of names for G-d than are found in traditional texts. These are some of the changes found in the egalitarian siddur we've been working on for quite some time. Changes like this can be exciting and often disconcerting at first, but many of us have found that in time they feel natural.
No need! Our High Holiday services are free and open to all. Please see our Holiday information for more details.
We gratefully accept donations sent to our mailing address. Havurat Shalom is an IRS 501 (c)(3) charitable organization so your donations may be tax-deductible. You are also welcome to use Paypal or a credit card to send a donation:Thanks for your contribution.
last modified: 2011-09-06