You are considering joining a synagogue. It’s a major decision and you need a lot of information and conversation before you make the choice. At Hevreh, we ask why people join our community. The answers are sometimes surprising, sometimes conventional but always interesting. Here are ten scenarios that often appear when we talk to members. Take a few moments to see if you find yourself here.
The majority of our members say they want to join an active, diverse Jewish community. Our members range in age from infants to people in their 90’s. They come from all over the country and overseas, bringing their history and enthusiasm with them. Our Hebrew school program is extraordinary, with outstanding teachers who inspire the students to be creative, involved, connected to Judaism, interested in Israel and aware of their heritage.
The Life Long Learning committee offers programs throughout the summer and early fall. Voices and Visions, and the Social Action committee present programs of special interest throughout the year. Lunch and Learn with the Rabbis is weekly. There is an adult B’nai Mitzvah class, a cantillation study group and a Torah study group throughout the year. There is a monthly Book Group, films, a Hebrew Institute and a Scholar in Residence Program. What’s important is that people choose to become part of a Jewish community and allow it to benefit them in the best ways possible.
A glance at a monthly calendar for Hevreh will inform you about our powerful concerns for social action and justice. We regularly gather clothing and household goods for less fortunate area residents. Our members work in the soup kitchen at a local church. Many congregants are involved with the Interfaith Council. A Hevreh group went to the Darfur rally in Washington, DC in 2006. Over the holidays, Mazon is a major beneficiary of tangible holiday wishes. Construct, a community based housing agency, is where many of our members are part of the working group. Through the Jewish Federation of the Berkshires, we are able to reach out to many people.
Hevreh is as social a community as you can imagine if you reach out and let members know who you are and what your interests are. Many of our members have come here from other places, choosing the Berkshires for its beauty, its outdoor activities in all seasons and its rich cultural life. Within Hevreh there are many places to look for sociability: the choir, which meets regularly over the summer in preparation for the holidays; the monthly Book Group; class that are held throughout the year; services on Friday evenings and Saturday mornings (including a traditional egalitarian Minyan in our Library); numerous committees that deal with education, finance, membership, public relations, social action, Israel, cooking groups – and the list goes on!
Hevreh is a welcoming community to families, singles, older adults, gays and lesbians, empty nesters – anyone looking for participation, learning and growth. With so many possibilities of involvement, there is a place for each person.
The Rabbis at Hevreh are known throughout the community as people of experience, leadership, warmth and commitment to the Jewish people. Along with their involvement in our services and school and their outside activities in Jewish life, they are accessible to members for consultation and participation in life passage events.
Hevreh is committed to Israel. We sponsor trips to Israel. Volunteers go, through Sar-El, to work in Israel, with Israeli’s. Many of our members have family in Israel. Families are encouraged to make connections to people and places in Israel through letters, and specific projects. The congregation has provided support for families in Israel. The Connecting With Israel committee, which sponsors an Israeli Film Festival, would be a place for your experience and passion.
Some of our members come from very observant families, others from families that practiced no Jewish traditions. We believe in plural humanism, an open door for Jews by birth and Jews by choice, a spiritual community where people of good can come together and observe in their own way. Some wear tallit and kipot, others don’t. Some read Hebrew fluently, some not at all. Some know the melodies, others listen.
Many of our learned, seasoned members welcome that interest. There are many accomplished Hebrew teachers, Bible scholars, retired Rabbi’s and writers in our community who meet for various projects and provide classes, often peer-led, for our members. You will find a rich mine of tradition and learning at Hevreh.
Hevreh has an outstanding program for teens, HoTY, a group of young people who plan their own activities, with the guidance of the Rabbi. They go camping and rafting, they study books that they choose, they collaborate with other youth groups in the area to plan special events, they participate in interfaith projects – and most of all they have fun together in a warmly Jewish environment.
Family – $1520
Individual – $970
Associate Family (if you belong to another URJ affiliate congregation) – $1020
Religious School Fees are not listed here – but may be obtained by contacting Hevreh at (413) 528-6378.
It is Hevreh’s policy never to deprive anyone of membership, religious school education or High Holy Days attendance because of their inability to pay. If you need financial assistance please contact us at the office (413) 528-6378 to have a representative from our Dues Committee contact you to make confidential arrangements.