Havurat Shalom

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Havurat Shalom
Founded1968; 55 years ago (1968)
PurposeA lay-led congregation where people come to pray, celebrate, and grapple with Jewish texts and traditions and work for social justice.[1]
Coordinates42°23′59.14″N 71°7′5.20″W / 42.3997611°N 71.1181111°W / 42.3997611; -71.1181111Coordinates: 42°23′59.14″N 71°7′5.20″W / 42.3997611°N 71.1181111°W / 42.3997611; -71.1181111

Havurat Shalom is a small egalitarian chavurah in Somerville, Massachusetts.[2] Founded in 1968, it is not affiliated with the major Jewish denominations.

Havurat Shalom was the first countercultural Jewish community and set the precedent for the national havurah movement. Founded in 1968, it was also significant in the development of the Jewish renewal movement and Jewish feminism.[3] Originally intended to be an "alternative seminary", instead it evolved into a "model havurah".[4][5]

Founders and members of Havurat Shalom have included Edward Feld,[3] Merle Feld, Michael Fishbane, Everett Gendler, Arthur Green, Barry Holtz, Gershon Hundert, [6] James Kugel, Alfred A. Marcus, Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, Jim Sleeper, Michael Strassfeld, and Arthur Waskow. Historian Jonathan Sarna noted that among these members were "the people who would be leading figures in Jewish life in the second half of the 20th century".[7]


  1. ^ "Welcome to the Hav". Havurat Shalom. Retrieved January 29, 2023.
  2. ^ Profile of Havurat Shalom. The Pluralism Project at Harvard University.
  3. ^ a b Merle Feld, "Egalitarianism and the Havurah movement", in Susan Grossman, Rivka Haut, eds., Daughters of the King: Women and the Synagogue (A Survey of History, Halakhah, and Contemporary Realities) (Jewish Publication Society, 2005), ISBN 978-0827604414, pp. 246-250. Excerpts available at Google Books.
  4. ^ Riv-Ellen Prell, Prayer & Community: The Havurah in American Judaism (Wayne State University Press, 1989), ISBN 978-0814319352, pp. 92ff. Excerpts available at Google Books.
  5. ^ Jonathan D. Sarna, American Judaism: A History (Yale University Press, 2004), ISBN 978-0300129106, pp. 319ff. Excerpts available at Google Books.
  6. ^ Mark Oppenheimer, Knocking on Heaven's Door: American Religion in the Age of Counterculture (Yale University Press, 2003), ISBN 978-0300100242, pp. 109ff. Excerpts available at Google Books.
  7. ^ Weiss, Anthony (Aug 9, 2014). "Countercultural spirit lives at iconic 1960s havurah". Times of Israel. Retrieved Aug 13, 2014.
  • Havurat Shalom Siddur
  • Sarna, Jonathan. "'With-It' Judaism: The havurah movement and The Jewish Catalog blended Judaism with the 1960s counterculture" in American Judaism: A History (Yale University Press, 2004). Internet reprint
  • Richard Siegel, Strassfeld, Michael and Sharon. The Jewish Catalog: A Do-It-Yourself Kit 1973

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