A havurah aims to be an intimate community where deep, caring, supportive relationships are fostered between the members of the group as they share and explore a Jewish focus of their own choosing. The group sets its own agenda, is peer-led, and meets on an ongoing basis. The havurah should ultimately have a minimum of seven people, meet nine times a year or more, have a Jewish focus and shared leadership.
Who might form a havurah?
Single folks out of college; families with young children; women; men; LGBTQ folks; empty nesters; people in the same neighborhood, age cohort or profession.
What’s the focus of a havurah?
That’s up to the group itself. Some possibilities: share Shabbat and holidays; work together for social justice; do mitzvot like community service or visiting the sick; do outdoor activities like hiking and/or biking; form a singing circle; do art; cook; read books; explore and find self-expression through Jewish culture; study Jewish teachings; cultivate Jewish spiritual practices.
What’s the role of the connector?
In short, the connector brings people together based on a shared Jewish interest to form a havurah. This involves:
Reaching out to individuals who are looking for a Jewish connection, listening to their interests and ideas.
Convening prospective members and facilitating an initial meeting to discuss group goals, focus, and next steps.
Helping the group develop expectations around scheduling, communication, and decision-making.
Facilitating the members of the group taking full ownership of all aspects of the havurah.
Bringing the support and resources offered by the HGF HI to the attention of the havurah.
Attending sessions with other connectors and staff for training, workshops, and idea sharing.
Completing a brief quarterly report highlighting havurah developments, progress, challenges, and successes.
Reaching out to HI staff when you need support.
What are the benefits for the connector?
HI offers the connector:
A stipend of $1,000/year given quarterly after reports are submitted for the first year.
Up to $1000/year for program expenses.
Access to support and training from the HI staff.
The connector can derive great satisfaction from helping fellow Jews find and shape a warm, supportive, and rewarding Jewish community and participating in that community as well.
Note: While connectors may be Jewish professionals, personally they must be members of the havurah and may not be acting on behalf of their employers.