(TBS-EV) What is a Havurah?
The word havurah is Hebrew for fellowship. The plural is havurot. A Havurah is a group of people from within the larger synagogue community who gather together to form an extended ‘family’ or a small social circle of like-minded members. This provides the framework to get to know people in more intimate settings.
Think of a Havurah as a community within a community. Strangers become friends, and friends become extended family. As you become more familiar with the members of your Havurah, and perhaps have joint activities with other Havurot, you should feel more at home and part of the “Temple Beth Sholom family.” However your Havurah develops over time, we are confident that being in a Havurah can make your synagogue membership more comfortable, more meaningful, and more fulfilling.
What kinds of activities does a Havurah do?
Havurah events can be social, service-oriented, spiritual, study-based, or a combination of activities. Groups meet regularly in members’ homes (often monthly) or at other places such as the Synagogue, movies, museums, parks, etc. Members usually form lasting bonds by creating a caring and close community within Temple Beth Sholom.
Each group plans its own programs depending on what its members desire (see examples below). A Havurah might celebrate simchas (joyous occasions) and provide support for difficult times. Depending on the make-up of your Havurah, children may be involved in some activities and not others.
- Get together for holidays
- Attend Shabbat services as a group – whether Friday night, Saturday morning. Some may even lead a Shabbat service and sponsor one on occasion with help from the ritual committee.
- Attend upcoming events at Synagogue together (see weekly Shabbat bulletins)
- Go to a sporting event together (basketball game, baseball game, etc.)
- Gather in the park for a picnic.
- Volunteer with Jewish Family and Children’s Services
- Dinner and a game night.
- Go on a Shabbat walk or hike or bike ride.
- Do a ‘movie night’ with a Jewish-themed film. (An event like this could be combined with other Havurot.)
- Plan a Saturday Night Havdalah / study session with the rabbi on a specific topic and have a dessert reception.
- Have an idea to add here, please contact us!
Temple Beth Sholom will help our members to form havurot and then they continue on their own. We will do our best to maintain a database of active havurot, including those with any availability for new members. Once formed, members decide together on activities and how often to meet. Temple Beth Sholom of the East Valley will provide you with any tools (once available). Havurot may celebrate holidays and life cycle events, learn more about Jewish topics of interest, and perform mitzvot together.
This article was originally posted on Temple Beth Shalom of the East Valley.
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