A response to Charlottesville


As we watch the headlines in Charlottesville, we think:  “You shall not stand idly by the blood of your neighbor.” (Leviticus 19:16)

This Biblical verse is speaking directly to us, and we cannot stand idly by. As human beings, we believe that every person is created in the divine image and, therefore, is of infinite value. As Jews, we know the heart of the stranger, having been strangers ourselves.

In order to make a difference, we refuse to be indifferent. This is not a time for equivocation. It is a time to raise our voices and take action.

We will continue to stand against bigotry, racism, hate and violence. We stand together with the Jewish community of Charlottesville, and with everyone there, and everywhere, who believe that equality, justice and love are stronger forces than fear, terror and hate.

If you would like to take action, or contribute to groups who are doing so, please click on the links, below.

The Havurah Leadership

To learn more about some of the Jewish Community’s response to Charlottesville and ways to take action, visit the sites below:

Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

Union For Reform Judaism

“Fighting What The Nazis Fear,” by Rabbi Mordechai Liebling, from The Forward

Southern Poverty Law Center

Showing Up for Racial Justice Middlebury Facebook Group

Havurah 2017 and beyond: A message from the Steering Committee

The past year has seen many changes at Havurah.

Our Program & Outreach Coordinator and Director of Education, Sarit Katzew, continues to work with increasing numbers of our members to implement exciting social, recreational, spiritual and educational programming to enrich our community.


We’ve had many successful events, such as our Hamilton Parody Purim Tish, our community-wide, “I See Myself In You” Refugee & Immigrant Seder, Alternative Friday Evening Service series, Young Family Potluck dinner gatherings and so much more. This positive energy continues to inspire members not only to participate, but to work collaboratively to execute programs.

As we plan for the year 5778, we remind you that we truly are a Havurah  a community-led congregation that relies on the volunteer efforts and generosity of our members.  Please take a moment to consider how you can help Havurah. No offer is too small or insignificant to help us grow and thrive. Financial support is wonderful but your time is valuable, too. We encourage you to volunteer! There are so many opportunities from Community Lunches at the Charter House, to hosting potlucks, to organizing holiday parties, fundraisers and more. If you are able to volunteer please contact Sarit Katzew.

We strive to provide something for everyone, from traditional to alternative worship experiences, social gatherings and opportunities to give back to our community. Our tikkun olam projects include our ongoing Huertas Tool Drive to support the migrant farm worker community, and our upcoming High Holy Day Food Drive. We are also offering some brand new programs this year, and are steadily expanding our Hebrew School programming in order to engage a broader age-range of students.
We need you, your generous donations, your membership dues, your engagement, your ideas and your energy.

Our Havurah is only as strong as our members, and as we look ahead, we need your help to ensure a bright future for our community. Dues this year are $575 for families and $265 for singles. However, we encourage anyone who is able to pay more by contributing to the 2017 Matching Fund.

Please complete and send your Membership Form with your dues by September 1. If you need to delay payment, please send in the form and indicate your payment plan, so we know if our membership projections are on target. Cost is never prohibitive at Havurah.

We are so excited for everything that lies ahead for Havurah. We hope you will continue to be a part of this vibrant community for many years to come.
Havurah Steering Committee

Shabbat and poetry

A small but mighty group gathered on Saturday, April 22, for a Shabbat confluence of Earth Day, National Poetry month, and Torah readings detailing prohibitions and possibilities of food and diets, from camels to pigs, pelicans and hawks. Many thanks to Margi Rogal for leading an Exquisite Corpse poetry collaborative, a poetry game that traces its roots to 1930s French Surrealists. Our poetic d’var Torah then, is shared below:

Limbs of a white pine spiral into the heavens,
Reminding me of camp in Maine in 1957
When the wind was fierce but exciting.
It blew forcefully breathing into you life.
Oh! After that, I need to catch my breath.
And I need food.
You shall not go hungry.
Stay with us,
Sing a song
From the 60’s.
The 1760’s were an exciting time, too.



I See Myself in You: Havurah Community Seder

On Tuesday, April 11th, 2017 ninety community members joined together to sing, share stories about emigration, and share a Passover meal. Led by Rabbi David Edleson, stories were told by young and old alike and ranged from a dying grandfather eating flourless chocolate cake to an Iranian father’s journey to Middlebury. Much reflection, laughter, and good food were enjoyed by all and thanks to all who helped to make the night possible by cooking, cleaning, planning, and participating.

Yom HaShoah Commemoration

Yom HaShoah Commemoration
Sunday, April 23 at 4:30pm
Mead Chapel, Middlebury College

Please join us for a special program, planned by Hillel students and co- sponsored by Havurah, Hillel and the Middlebury Area Clergy Association.

This year the grandchildren of Holocaust survivors will be sharing a bit of their family histories, Jack Buettner and the College Choir will offer musical selections and local physician and author, Jack Mayer, will be speaking on the theme of his new book about the Weimar and the rise of the Third Reich.

Be sure to join us for this meaningful annual commemoration.

Chocolate & Chanting: A Kirtan Style Shabbat


Friday, March 31st at 6:30pm
Havurah House- 56 N. Pleasant St., Middlebury

Communal chanting is an ancient technology for awakening joy and connection with others.  Join us for a very special  Kabbalat Shabbat led by Rabbi Jan Salzman, Rabbi David Edleson and Dr. Rebecca Gould.organic-dark-chocolate-bar_3

This is an opportunity to try out a different sort of spirit-filled Shabbat, when the singing will be ”kirtan-style,” meaning “call and response” with drums, harmonium, and other instruments to help us let down our hair and lift up our spirits.

Our chants will use short meaningful passages from Hebrew prayers that focus on different ways of approaching the divine. Starting slowly, we chant each one again and again as we add drums and build the tempo and energy.

Come try it out!  Bring some friends who might want to try something new.  We can all use more joy in our lives, and we will help that along with oneg treats of luscious chocolatey goodness.

Please bring something (nut-free) chocolate to share, any percussive instruments you might have, and your bodies ready to move.   All are welcome! (Email dedleson@gmail.com with questions.)

Hamilton Purim Tish, March 18, 7p

Tish (Yiddish: טיש‎, literally, “table”). Any joyous public celebration or gathering or meal around a table.

Come support Havurah, enjoy fine food, wine and beer and be entertained by performances of Hamilton Parody songs based on the Purim story and History of Havurah.

HamiltonWe will also have a small raffle with some great Hamilton items and various ways available to support Havurah throughout the evening.

Be sure not to miss this special event. Havurah House will be truly transformed for what is sure to be a fun upscale evening.

Bring your friends!
Festive Attire!

To RSVP email HHedDirector@gmail.com by March 12.
$18/Per Person  (Must be 21+ years old to attend) This event is open to the public.

Havurah member Pam Berenbaum has generously offered to help our fundraising efforts by offering transportation to and from the event (for a fee). There will be staggered pick up and drop off times for different locations. If you are interested please email HHEdDirector@gmail.com.

Make use of this designated driver option to enjoy the event worry free or just to give your date night a special feel!

Hebrew School Open House, March 4, 10a-11a

Come enjoy some snacks, kid friendly activities, Shabbat song session, a facility tour, as well as an opportunity to meet our Director of Education.

Are you beginning to think about your child’s connection to a Jewish Community? Do you wish your daughter could sing the Four Questions at Passover? Would you like your child to learn the Alef-Bet?

Our small and vibrant Hebrew School offers students (Pre-K through high school) a chance to engage in hands-on Jewish learning. We are exploring the possibility of offering mini sessions for Fall 2017 and Spring 2018 for ages 4-6 years old. This way families can try out our program before deciding to matriculate full time.

Please join us on Saturday, March 4th to learn more about our program.

If you are not able to attend but would like to learn more please email HHEdDirector@gmail.com.

2nd Annual Havurah Teens and Friends Community Supper

Havurah will sponsor a Community Supper dinner, Friday, March 31 at the Congregational Church.

This dinner usually serves about 125-150 people. We are looking for volunteers (especially teens) to help prep the meal and make desserts ahead of time, and also volunteers to cook, serve and clean up the meal on Friday (especially teens and their families).

Please contact Amy Trubek or Karen Lefkoe to sign up or if you have any question (atrubek@uvm.edu, karenlefkoe@gmail.com).

Sunday, March 26
2-5pm prep session (at Congregational Church kitchen)

Week of March 26th
Make desserts at home (drop off at Havurah or at Congregational Church on 3/31)

Friday, March 31, 2-4pm
Finish meal at Congregational Church;\

Set up, serve, clean up supper