What is a Havurah?
The term Havurah is derived from the Hebrew word haver, which means friend. Havurah reflects a group of Jewish people brought together through the sharing of similar ideas and experiences. Havurah is about family, friends, having fun, and being connected within your Havurah, the Temple, and the Jewish community.
Join a Havurah
So, you’re a member of TEC and you’re looking for more “Jewish” involvement. Or you’re just out to make new friends. Or maybe it’s both! The reasons for joining a Havurah are up to you. At TEC many groups of friends, Havurot, have been formed and are meeting the needs of many of our members.
Each Havurah is typically composed of 6 to 12 couples and/or individuals who get together about once a month to expand their Jewish way of life. Everyone must be a member of TEC, since joining a Havurah is one of the benefits of membership. A Havurah is an excellent way to get together with other TEC members with similar interests.
It’s also a good way to welcome new members by providing a small, non-intimidating social group for them to join.
What does a Havurah do?
It’s up to you!
Your group can enjoy a Shabbat Dinner together, light candles for Havdalah, enjoy a Hanukah party with kids, build a Sukkah and eat under the stars or even go camping together. Each Havurah determines the types of activities it wants. You can ask Rabbi Averbach to attend a meeting to discuss a variety of topics related to Jewish life.
Why not ask everyone to read an article, or see a movie and then get together to discuss it? Take a trip to Catalina Island together. Or go to the Skirball Museum for an outing. A day in the park is a wonderful summertime activity with all the kids and food and games. Any activity can be even more enjoyable done with friends!
Basic Guidelines for a Successful Havurah
- Planning activities for the entire year at an Initial Planning Meeting usually helps to avoid conflicts. Everyone brings their calendars to see when vacations, Jewish holidays and important events are coming up. Decide on meeting dates – preferably the same week and day of the month (example: 3rd Saturday night of every month). Set up the dates for the year so that the majority of people can make those dates.
- Each couple/individual volunteers to take one or more of the dates, and agrees to host that event. Make a schedule of the dates, events and people responsible and send it to everyone in the Havurah. At this time, it is also a good idea to create a roster with names, names of children and ages, addresses, phone numbers and emails. You may want to include birthdays and anniversary dates too.
- Please send a copy of your Havurah roster to the Havurah Coordinator. This will help them to know who belongs to Havurah groups and allows them to make joint activities possible.
- Each host couple/individual should contact all the members of the Havurah with the date, time, location (map if necessary), and information about the next activity as the date draws near.
- Refreshments, a dinner outing beforehand or a pot-luck organized by the host(s) can be part of any activity (and usually are)!
- Everyone misses a meeting occasionally, but you must decide to make this new group of friends a priority.
- Try not to “pick and choose,” or attend only those events that interest you most. Give something new a try. And remember, the purpose of joining a Havurah is to get involved and to make new friends. It’s not a group without YOU!
How can I join a Havurah?
It’s very easy. Simply fill out a request form and returning it to the TEC office or stop by the TEC office. A Havurah Coordinator will contact you and ask if you would like to form a new Havurah or join an existing one.
There is a new Havurah Start Up meeting scheduled once a year and everyone who is interested in joining a Havurah is invited. Every effort will be made to match you up with people in your age group who have similarly aged children and who live reasonably close to you.
Can other people be added to an existing Havurah?
Yes! This usually happens in one of two ways. There may be an open slot in a Havurah for a new couple/individual when the Havurah Coordinator inquires about it, or if you volunteer the information. Sometimes, a member of a Havurah has friends whom they believe would be a good addition to the Havurah. They ask the other members if it is OK to invite them to the next activity to meet the group. If others are agreeable, and the new couple/individual looks like a good match, the havurah can decide to include them as members.
If you are interested in learning more about TEC’s Havurah Program, please contact the Temple Office and they will connect you with a Havurah Coordinator.