Focus on Friendship
Havurah Groups at Beth Tikvah Synagogue2006-03-03 11:12:40
What's a havurah? It starts with a common interest and grows into an interesting community.
A havurah (Hebrew for friends) is a group of congregants with similar interests who get together on a regular basis, according to Henry Alkin, active havurah participant at Beth Tikvah Synagogue. Typical activities might include a book or film review, a visit to a place of interest followed by a meal in a restaurant or a picnic, a talk with a professional on a subject of interest, etc.
"The havurah that I attend is fantastic," said Alkin. "We recently met to see the wonderful documentary film Shalom Y'all. We also had a private visit with violinist Moshe Hammer. He came and spoke with us and then he played just for our group!"
A havurah is a great way to meet people in a congregation and become friends. It can also make families more comfortable participating in synagogue activities and attending services with people they know.
"There are now three havurah groups in action at Beth Tikvah," said Alkin, "two older groups of 55+ and our latest addition for 35-55's. The new group is an eclectic and energetic mix of members with varied backgrounds from Israel, Argentina, the USA and Canada, and their first meeting is coming up later this month."
Beth Tikvah will be officially welcoming former Adath Shalom Synagogue members on Shabbat morning, March 25/06, and Alkin is anticipating even more interest in the shul's havurot from those new shul members. "These new members, they may not know too many people yet and that can be intimidating," said Alkin, "but a havurah helps you to meet people. It gives you choices."
"Anyone can join a havurah," said Alkin. "New members, longtime members, young families, those with teenagers, empty nesters, all ages, all interests - there is a havurah for everyone."
Havurot focus on friendship, sharing common interests and activities, Judaism and congregational involvement, personal growth, family and community concerns. Contact your synagogue for information on havurot in your congregation.
Beth Tikvah Congregational School receives financial support from UJA Federation of Greater Toronto.