Who are we?
Havurat Shalom is a community of families committed to providing a Jewish identity and education for its members, in a manner that is relevant to our contemporary lives.
Our Statement of Values
Havurat Shalom is a Reconstructionist congregation committed to providing a Jewish identity, education and spiritual practice for its members in a manner that is meaningful for our contemporary lives. We are an inclusive, welcoming and engaged community focused on the spiritual and cultural development of all of its members, and support for each other and the larger community in which we live.
Havurat Shalom accepts members regardless of marital status, race, ethnicity, national origin, gender identity or expression, economic condition, (dis)ability, or sexual orientation. We affirm the full equality and welcoming of LGBTQ people and families. Havurat Shalom welcomes interfaith families, and those who are or have been members of other Jewish congregations or who have never practiced Judaism in a structured way.
Havurat Shalom functions on a democratic and participatory basis and relies on the active engagement of all members. We encourage members to contribute their individual perspectives and background to the activities of the community, including the contents of holiday services and celebrations, creating a constantly evolving expression of Jewish ideas and Jewish practice. We value the contributions of people of other faiths and identities who are part of our community.
As a Reconstructionist congregation, we look to the Torah and Jewish sacred texts as a source of spiritual and moral insight and guidance in our lives. At the same time, even as we engage with tradition we listen to our own consciences and lived experiences as important sources of truth and inspiration. We welcome community members who have different personal understandings of the Divine, including those who aren’t sure what they believe or who don’t use God-language to describe their beliefs.
Havurat Shalom affirms the Jewish values of G'milut hesed, acts of kindness; Tikkun olam, social activism, literally "world repair”; and Tzedaka, from the Hebrew root tzedek, “justice,” often translated as “charity.” G’milut hesed affirms the obligation to visit the sick, care for elders, comfort mourners, welcome guests, and celebrate new families and children. Tikkun olam represents an attempt to repair a breach in the functioning of the world and advance systemic change. Tikkun olam draws on Jewish tradition and Jewish history in pursuing social justice and equality for all peoples. Tzedaka is also an expression of justice not charity in the usual sense; its aim is to help restore justice through recognizing the need for a fairer distribution of resources.
As a congregation, we seek to engage with other faith communities that embody and advance our values. Along with being a member of the Jewish Reconstructionist Movement, Havurat Shalom is a member of the Merrimack Valley Jewish Federation, which includes Reform, Conservative, Modern Orthodox and Chabad congregations as well as Reconstructionist; and of Welcoming Faiths, a coalition of LGBTQ welcoming congregations in the Merrimack Valley.
How can you reach us?
You can contact us by email, email@example.com or by phone: 978-494-2042
What do we offer?
An open and inclusive community regardless of marital status, race, national origin, gender, economic condition, disability or sexual orientation.
An environment that welcomes families of mixed heritage.
Families who have been, or are members of any other Jewish congregation, or have not recently or, in fact, ever, practiced Judaism in a structured way are also welcome.
Ours is a diverse and vibrant congregation focused on the spiritual and cultural development of its members.
Since the group functions on a cooperative basis, the active participation of every member is necessary. A wide variety of activities is offered, reflecting the varied interests of the members of the group. These include monthly shabbat services, discussions (havurah), tzedakah activities, social get-togethers, excursions to cultural events and children's workshops.
A Cooperative – Members are key - [read about us in more detail and download a membership packet here]
Every member is asked to contribute their individual perspectives and background, creating a constantly evolving expression of Judaism. This rich diversity is manifested in the composition of holiday services and celebrations, some of which are written by members. Traditional Jewish practices are observed with modern interpretations and forms of expression. We have a Board of Directors which meets four times per year. ALL meetings are open.
Music is an important part of our Havurat Shalom traditions. Elliott Jacobowitz, director and pianist, leads an ensemble, "Eliahu and the Minor Prophets", including vocalist Zoe Vasconcellos Hastings, flautists Esther Taylor and Steve Samler, acoustic guitarist, Jonathan Weiss, pianist Christopher Desjardins, and Chazzan David Hastings on percussion. They offer accompaniment at Shabbat and High Holy Day services. Cellist Cameron Sawzin provides the deeply spiritual, "Kol Nidre" on solo cello accompanied by pianist Miles Goldberg at our Yom Kippur service.
Our Shabbat and holiday observances are led by Rabbi Karen Landy, a Reconstructionist Rabbi. On the High Holy Days Rabbi Karen is joined by Chazzan, David Hastings, in leading our services. Beginning in 2012, our congregation adopted the siddur, Mishkan Tefilah, a wonderful prayerbook including Hebrew, English and transliteration of all prayers, in addition to thoughtful and inspirational additional readings. For the High Holy Days, we use a text that has been developed by the congregation over forty years, including some original contributions by our religious school children, some of whom now have children of their own.
Hebrew School - (temporarily not being offered)
The Hebrew School of Havurat Shalom provides a curriculum which includes Hebrew language training, cultural and ethnic education and holiday celebrations. Classes are taught once each week for 90 minutes by experienced teachers with small groups of children. Our early-entry program, for children in Grades K-2, “Jumping Into Judaism”, meets once per month.
Looking for the Havurat Shalom congregation in Somerville? please visit http://thehav.org/
SITE UPDATED October 5, 2021