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

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 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 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

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

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 (,

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

Chocolate and Chanting, Friday, March 31 at 6:30pm

Join us for a very special Kabbalat Shabbat led by Rabbi Jan Salzman, Dr. Becky Gould, and Rabbi David Edleson. The singing will be kirtan-style, call and response, with drums, harmonium, and other instruments to help us let our hair down and lift our spirits up. We will praise creation with luscious chocolatey goodness.

Please bring something chocolate (nut free!) to share, any percussive instruments you might have, and your bodies ready to move with the groove.

Friday, March 31 at 6:30pm, Havurah House

Community Meeting Planning Potluck, Friday, February 24 at 6:15pm

On Sunday evening, February 5th – Superbowl Sunday, no less!! – 35 of us gathered at Havurah for a Community Meeting, to discuss the role we envision Havurah playing in the days, weeks and months ahead. Ever since November 14th, when we discovered a swastika scrawled on Havurah’s front door, many were shocked into a heightened state of awareness that, even in our peaceful town of Middlebury, there exists the potential for division and hate. The outpouring of love and support was visceral and immediate: the following Saturday over a hundred people appeared at our Shabbat morning service, in a show of solidarity and strength. Cards and letters from around Vermont – and beyond – started pouring in and they are posted in our lobby.

A few weeks  later, even more of our friends and neighbors gathered for a vigil on the Town Green, where we pledged to look out for each other, to stand up to acts of ignorance and hate, and to engage in concerted efforts to celebrate our commonalities, even while exploring the meaning of our differences.

All these experiences, thoughts and concerns were shared at Havurah’s February 5th Community Meeting. After expressing our concerns, we turned to our hopes – for the role Havurah can play in standing up for justice, in protecting those who experience adverse consequences of governmental policies, and in fostering conversations to bring us closer together.

Some of our initial – and still not yet wholly formed – ideas include reaching out to the Muslim community to offer support and strengthen connections; exploring ways to protect and safeguard the rights of migrant Mexican farm workers – and other immigrants – in Addison County; taking an active role in educating others about Judaism and its ethical precepts; and opening our Havurah community seder this year to friends and neighbors, to share stories of struggle and our mutual experiences of being the “other” – whether because of our immigrant status, or racial or cultural differences. We ended the meeting by committing to gather again soon, recognizing that, if we hope to realize any of these (and other) goals, we need a critical mass willing to step up and take active part, perhaps by forming a Social Action committee.

We are excited to announce our next gathering to continue this discussion, on Friday night, February 24th, 6:15p, for a potluck supper at Havurah. Although we’ll light Shabbat candles and sing over wine and challah, we will not hold a service. Instead, we’ll share great food and start formulating our priorities, goals, and strategies for how to achieve them. Please join us, and bring your friends.