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Looking for Community? Join a Havurah!

Hoping to meet others in the congregation? Not sure quite how to do it? Over the past year  we’ve been creating many new havurot (fellowship groups). They provide an opportunity for members and others to form smaller communities within the congregation. Most meet once a month, are organized by members, and pull people together with a similar demographic or interest. If you’d like to participate, email office@shamayim.org and we will connect you with the group leaders.

The Men's Havurah meets once a month on Sunday mornings at a neighborhood café. It is open to men who identify as Jewish as well as those interested in Judaism. We focus on rotating topics of interest, and we have a men's retreat once a year.

The Women's Havurah meets once a month on Sunday mornings at a neighborhood café. We discuss a topic of interest, enjoy time together, and build community in the congregation.

The LGBTQ Havurah provides an opportunity for LGBTQ people to meet each other and discuss being Jewish and LGBTQ. The group is intergenerational and meets once a month. All LGBTQ-identified people are welcome.

The Over-65 Havurah meets once a month at a member's house on a weekday afternoon. Each month the group selects a different topic to focus the discussion.

The Young Family Havurah is for children ages 0-4 and their parents. Families gather for Shabbat, Rosh Hashanah, and Yom Kippur tot services, a Passover seder, play dates, and more. Kesher, a monthly gathering for children ages 2-4 and their parents, also meets once a month.

The Torah Study Havurah meets to discuss the week's Torah portion twice a month on Saturday mornings when Shaarei Shamayim does not have services. We usually meet in person with a virtual option. Discussions are lively and wide-ranging; members share personal reactions to the weekly parashah, as well as insights from classic and contemporary commentaries.

Members of the Arts and Crafts Havurah bring their completed or in-progress projects to our gatherings. We have a lively conversation as we work on our own projects. All types of crafters are welcome.

The Hiking Havurah welcomes hikers and walkers of all levels, to join them once a month for low-impact nature walks in and around the more interesting places in Madison and south central Wisconsin.

Havdalah is the name for the ritual that ends Shabbat. The Havdalah Hang Out gathers at a member's house on Saturday late afternoons once a month to enjoy each others' fellowship, reflect on the week that was, and plan for the week to come.

Nechamah: Living With Chronic Illness is a havurah open to people living with chronic illnesses, as well as people who care for others with chronic illnesses. We meet once a month with Rabbi Laurie who facilitates conversation. Members offer each other support and care.

The Outdoor Adventure Havurah explores the outdoors in a different excursion each month. We do activities such as paddling, ice skating, and cross-country skiing.

Members of the Racial Justice Reading Group do readings on racial justice topics and come together once a month to discuss them. Our goal is for members to deepen their understandings and broaden their perspectives on race in an attempt to address racism and racial inequities in our society.

The Shabbat Singing Havurah meets once a month at a member's home over Shabbat. We learn and sing new Jewish music both as a way to celebrate Shabbat and to build a singing community for our services and ritual events.

The Friday Night Shabbat Havurah meets weekly over Zoom for a short gathering. Members lead Shabbat songs and one person offers a reflection on the week, an upcoming holiday, or the weekly Torah portion. We do a prayer for healing and Kaddish, along with blessings over the candles, wine, and bread.

Our Acts of Caring Havurah is an opportunity to support members who are going through challenging times. We are connected through email and mobilize when a member is in need so that we can provide meals and rides, as well as make visits and do errands.

Possible havurot if there is interest:

A Board Games Havurah would gather once a month in a fun, relaxing social environment to play board games together.

Kehillah (for people in their 20s-30s) would gather once a month for social events. (This group existed in the past and we hope to revive it.)

A Parent Hang-Out Group would gather once a month for parents with children, teens, and young adults. This would be an opportunity to spend time with other parents (without kids).

A Shabbat dinner havurah would gather once a month for a more formal kind of Shabbat dinner with blessings, singing, and informal discussion.

We have something for everyone. We hope you'll join us!

Tue, February 27 2024 18 Adar I 5784