Chavurah @ FJC

Whenever I have the opportunity to engage new members of our congregation in conversation and I ask them what led them to join us, I am frequently told that they were attracted to the warmth and vibrancy of our community. Needless to say, it is always gratifying to hear such an affirmation of who we strive to be as a congregational “family”!

I am aware, however, that it is sometimes challenging for new members to feel fully integrated into the life of FJC. One potential solution to that challenge may be found in joining a FJC chavurah.

What is a chavurah? – A chavurah, from the Hebrew meaning “friendship”, is a small group of FJC members (singles, couples, families, etc.) who want to share interests and experiences in an informal, non-temple setting. At this point in time, FJC has two chavurot that have been meeting enthusiastically for a number of years.

Who can join a chavurah? – Everyone who is a member of FJC is welcome to join a chavurah: singles, couples, and families. You can join even if your spouse/partner does not wish to do so. Inclusiveness is a hallmark of this community and extends to the chavurah experience. However, FJC chavurot (the plural of chavurah) are open exclusively to members of the congregation. Generally, chavurot are size-limited (10-12 individuals) to facilitate interactions within the group.

Why do people join a chavurah? – People join for many reasons. The most important is the desire for community. Chavurah is a way to experience FJC by deepening and developing friendships with other members.

How does a chavurah work? – Some chavurah groups may have a specific focus (i.e. discussing current events, book discussions, cultural outings, holiday celebrations), while others may be more open-ended. Given that FJC draws from a wide geographic base, chavurot might form from members in different areas (i.e. off-Cape, different Cape towns, Boston-area, off-site snowbird locations).

Chavurot meet regularly on a schedule to be determined by the group, usually in the homes of members and on a rotating basis, but sometimes at other venues (plays, movies, concerts, etc.). Chavurah activities should not conflict with FJC events and program content (i.e. – not duplicating scheduled FJC programs such as book discussions, films, etc.). On the other hand, chavurah members are encouraged to attend FJC activities together. Each chavurah determines its own structure.

How will joining a chavurah enhance my FJC experience? – Jewish life is lived in community. A chavurah can enhance your experience of community in a more intimate way and afford you opportunities to meet new people in the congregation.

How is a chavurah funded? – While there is no fee to join a chavurah, neither does FJC’s budget allow for financial support of chavurot. Chavurot should be sensitive to issues of affordability for chavurah activities.

How do I join a chavurah? – FJC’s chavurot are organized under the aegis of our Membership Committee. If you are interested in joining a chavurah, please contact our member Ilene Karnow, who has graciously offered to serve as volunteer coordinator for this effort. You can reach Ilene by e-mail, wonrak@comcast.net or by phone: 978-430-5664.

The speed with which you may be connected to a newly-forming chavurah will depend upon how much interest is generated in forming a new group, but communicating your interest is the important first step!