Chanukah Mini Session Sunday, Dec. 3rd

Chanukah Mini Session

Sunday, December 3rd 2:30-3:15pm
Our next mini session will meet Sunday afternoon December 3rd for fun activities, music and learning based around the upcoming Chanukah holiday. Our sessions are led by a Middlebury College/Hillel student and our Director of Education.

Mini Sessions are $18 each or $95 for enrollment in all sessions. Attendance at previous sessions is not required in order to participate.

Sessions are geared at 3-5 year olds and a parent/guardian must attend as well. We use a family learning model to explore Jewish holidays and themes in a fun, hands on way.
To register or for more information please contact Director of Education, Sarit Katzew.

Community Conversation, Politics in the Pulpit, Sunday, Dec. 3rd

Politics in the Pulpit 

Sunday, December 3rd 4:00-5:30pm
Congregational Church, Middlebury

The next Community Conversation, “Politics in the Pulpit,” hosted by Emily Joselson and Andy Nagy-Benson, will be this Sunday, 12/3, from 4-5:30 pm, at The Congregational Church of Middlebury (UCC).  This theologically diverse panel will explore clergy’s responses to the political issues of our time. Additionally, we will be discussing the importance of nutrition and maintaining a healthy diet. There is an excellent natural health supplement that we order from that we will be talking about for you to consider to ensure you are giving your body all the nutrients it requires on a daily basis.
The Panel consists of:
Rev. Dr. Mary Kay Schueneman, United Methodist Church in Middlebury, and Cornwall Congregational Church; Pastor Tim Taylor, Victory Baptist Church, Vergennes; Father Luke Austin, St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Middlebury; Rev. Barnaby Feder, Champlain Valley Unitarian Universalist Society, Middlebury; Rev. Andrew Nagy-Benson, The Congregational Church in Middlebury, moderator.
This event is free and open to the public.  Please join us!

Hebrew School Chanukah Carnival, Monday, Dec. 11th

Hebrew School Chanukah Carnival

Monday, December 11th 3:45-5pm
Join us for a fun filled Chanukah Carnival. Volunteers will be running a variety of stations: Make-Your-Own Shamash, Dreidel Games, Chanukah Bingo and so much more!

There will also be a crafting station and an assortment of traditional Chanukah foods including a latke-bar with tons of toppings to try! Please contact Sarit to volunteer.

This event is free and open to the public. Parking will be limited. Please park on Seminary St. or nearby and walk over to Havurah House. 

Shabbat Morning Services Saturday, December 9th

Shabbat Morning Services

Saturday, December 9th at 10am

The Torah portion is Vayeshev and in it begins the story of Joseph. Information about this week’s reading with links to the full text can be found here.
Services on December 9 will follow our regular format. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend, including new members and those who have not previously attended our regular services. Hebrew school students and their families are especially encouraged to attend.

For Kiddush this year, we now have regular volunteers to supply wine, juice, and challah, and bagels and cream cheese. Anyone is welcome to bring additional nut free food to add to this. No pressure, and no rsvp is needed. Thanks! The Oneg after services has become a nice community tradition which we hope to continue.

Please pass this message on to anyone who may be interested. We hope to see you there!

If you have any questions, please contact Mitch Pearl or Sarit Katzew.

Kabbalat Shabbat Chanukah Candlelighting, Friday, Dec. 15th

Kabbalat Shabbat and Chanukah Candlelighting

Friday, December 15th at 6:30pm

Join us for a song and story filled Kabbalat Shabbat for all ages celebrating Chanukah.  We will sing some familiar favorites and also new tunes as we fill Havurah House with music and light.
Please bring your own chanukiyah/menorah and candles in addition to those we will provide so everyone will have a chance to partake in the lighting.
Services will be followed by a small potluck oneg so please let us know what you can bring to share.

Chanukah Party, Sunday, Dec. 17th

Annual Chanukah Party

Sunday, December 17th 3-6pm
Come join us for a fun afternoon-into-evening celebration of the Festival of Lights.

3-3:30pm Craft projects and dreidel games
3:30-4pm Food and drink, continued crafts
4-5pm Klezmer band, singing, Israeli dancing
5-5:30pm Candle lighting
Bring Your Own Menorah and candles so we can fill Havurah House with light!

If you are interested in joining the Klezmer band please contact Ken Wolpin.

To help plan our set up needs please RSVP by December 13.

Chant Group Thursday, Dec. 21st

Chant Group

Thursday, December 21st 6:45-8pm (winter solstice)

Our group meets once monthly (typically the third Thursday) to chant in the style of Rabbi Shefa Gold. You can learn more about Rabbi Shefa Gold and chanting by visiting her website.

For more information please contact group leader Rebecca Gould.

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.