Havurot

What is a Havurah?

The word “Havurah” comes from the Hebrew word “haver” meaning “friend.” At, Shir Hadash a Havurah is a group of approximately 10 families who join together to enrich their lives and to reinforce the spirit of Judaism in themselves and in their children. Each Havurah becomes a small community of congregants who meet in each other’s homes to study, socialize and celebrate Jewish life together. The Havurot do not replace other events of the shul, but instead they supplement and support the social, religious and intellectual activities of the synagogue.

What Does a Havurah Do?

A Havurah provides a social atmosphere for interested members to broaden their knowledge of Judaism, their Jewish skills and their social acquaintances within the congregation. To this end, the group may plan activities such as a pot-luck dinner, a Purim party, building a sukkah in a member’s backyard, conducting a Havdalah Service, joining together for a camping weekend, or holding a Havurah Seder or Hanukah party. Havurot provide an excellent opportunity to become more closely acquainted with a small subsection of the Temple.

How do I Join a Havurah?

To join a havurah or learn more about this wonderful way to socially interact with fellow congregants, please fill out the application form (PDF) and return it to the Temple office. Upon receiving your request the Temple’s Havurah Liaison will work with your family and individual havurot to identify a match.

For more information please contact the synagogue office at 408-358-1751 or email .

Who Runs the Havurah?

Each Havurah is responsible for organizing and carrying out its own gatherings. Typically, each member takes a role in planning and hosting the havurah’s meetings.

What Does the Temple Do?

The board liaison to the Havurot or a member of the Shir Hadash staff assigns interested congregants to Havurah groups. The Rabbis and Cantor may be available to facilitate special programs and events may occasionally be held at the Temple. The board liaison convenes meetings of havurah representatives at which best practices are shared amongst the groups.

Havurah Virtual Community

Shir Hadash has launched the Havurah Community Blog to facilitate communication among temple members who are part of havurout or want to join a havurah. The blog is a forum for:

  • Ideas for things to do as a havurah
  • Ways to invigorate a long standing group
  • Suggestions for helping members to get to know each other better
  • Guidelines for navigating membership issues
  • Sharing stories and pictures about activities that your havurah has undertaken
  • Personal reflections on the meaning and value of belonging to a havurah

Visit the blog to learn more about havurot or to post a comment or question.