Havurat Shalom

This profile was last updated in 2009


Founded in 1968, Havurat Shalom is an egalitarian Jewish community committed to creative, inclusive, spiritual JudaismJudaism is the worldview, the way of life, and the religious practice of the Jewish people, living in covenant with God and in response to Torah, the laws and ethics which guide the pattern of Jewish life. Jews today interpret their three thousand year ol..., welcoming all people. The members of the community do not identify with one particular sect of Judaism. As the havurahA havurah is a Jewish community in which roles, leadership, and responsibility for worship and study are shared among members as opposed to hiring a rabbi, hazzan, or other trained leaders. operates without a rabbiRabbi means “my master,” an authorized teacher or master of the Torah and the classical Jewish tradition. After the fall of the second Temple in 70 CE and the scattering of the Jewish people in exile, the role of the rabbi became very important in gat..., all services are created and led by members of the community, encouraging a deep level of involvement and commitment from congregants.


Havurat Shalom has occupied the same three-story frame house between Davis Square and Powderhouse CircleIn some Pagan traditions, a “circle” refers to the people who gather for a ritual. When standing in a circle, all the participants are able to see each other, with no one member elevated over any other. This practice is often felt to encourage egalita... since 1969, just a year after the group’s inception. The first floor, where the kitchen, dining room, and large common rooms are located, is wheelchair accessible. The house serves as the meeting space for the community and is home to some members of the community.


The havurah is run through specialized committees as well as community-wide meetings. All members are welcome at the monthly business meetings but are not required to attend. Decisions are made by a consensus of those who attend the meeting. Above all, the havurah strives to maintain a non-hierarchical structure, where all members have equal input.

Activities and Schedule

On the first Saturday of each month the havurah holds a morning service and a dairy potluck brunch. Two Fridays later, an informal, vegetarian potluck dinner is held. Newcomers are always welcome. There is also a children’s shabbatShabbat or sabbath is the day of rest, the seventh day, recalling the Biblical creation narrative in which God rested from the labors of creation on the seventh day. In the Jewish tradition, the Sabbath begins at sundown on Friday and runs through sundown... service held on the first Saturday of every month, except during the summer. In addition to weekly prayerPrayer is the vocal or silent address to the Divine. It may consist of fixed words, spontaneous words, or rest in silence with no words at all. Some forms of prayer are accompanied with specific postures or gestures, while others are not., the community hosts services for all holidays during the year. High Holiday services are open and free to the public, and do not require tickets. The havurah holds children’s services for the High HolidaysThe Jewish High Holidays are Rosh Hashanah (New Year Day), and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). Both fall in the lunar month of Tishri, beginning with Rosh Hashanah and following ten days later with Yom Kippur. These days are called the “Days of Awe” be.... There are three retreats each year, two that are away retreats and one that takes place at the havurah. The Friday and Saturday of retreat weekends are the only time during the year that the havurah does not hold open shabbat services. All members, both past and present, are welcome on the retreats but are not required to attend. The retreats are a time for socializing, Jewish study, and community building.


Havurat Shalom has developed its own shabbat siddurSiddur means “order,” and is the common term used for the Jewish prayerbook., or prayerbook. Their prayerbook, entitled Siddur Birkat Shalom, seeks to rework traditional Jewish prayersPrayer is the vocal or silent address to the Divine. It may consist of fixed words, spontaneous words, or rest in silence with no words at all. Some forms of prayer are accompanied with specific postures or gestures, while others are not.. This siddur uses egalitarian language, most obviously evidenced by the usage of both male and female pronouns when referring to GodGod is a term used to refer to the Divine, the Supreme being, Transcendent deity, or Ultimate reality.. Original research, which has been used in part, was conducted by Jayme Herschkopf.