Celebrating the 50th year of the congregation in 2017….
Teen Tzedakah Group shows off backpacks ready for Mercy Center school kids.
Rosh Hashanah eve service ends with a blessing and an Oneg.
The shofar is heard at CHJ Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur Family Services.
Members all play a role in making the congregation work. Read about how CHJ is organized.
Members meet for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk at Sherwood Island State Park.
Tu B’Shvat, the New Year of Trees, falls on the fifteenth day of the month of Shvat. It originated in a pagan festival honoring Asherah, goddess of farmers and fertility. Her chief festival took place at the end of the rainy season, when the sap begins to rise in the fruit trees of Israel. –… Read More
Our Congregation celebrates Passover together each year with a humanistic seder for families on the second night, as well as a children’s model seder during Sunday School. Although Passover began as a nature holiday, celebrating new life, it became a commemoration of the biblical exodus and the escape from slavery in ancient Egypt. Jews today read… Read More
Families are the future of CHJ. Our inclusive, warm, welcoming Congregation includes families of all stripes coming together to celebrate Judaism and being Jewish. From Baby Naming to Sunday School to Bar & Bat Mitzvah to the Teen Tzedakah Group to Adult Ed, you’ll find a community for families and kids of all ages. Humanistic… Read More
As you know, over the last couple of years we have been looking closely at who we are as a congregation—past present, and future. Our 50th anniversary provided a touchpoint for this, but it has also been prompted by the changing demographics of our congregation and shifting patterns in what people are looking for from congregations in general.
Last year’s survey showed that above all else, members value the community CHJ provides, and the defining characteristic of our community is our non-theistic approach to Judaism. Members noted the importance of educating their children in these values and having a place to celebrate the holidays.
As important as education is, we have seen a sharp reduction in Sunday School enrollment. Our High Holidays children’s services and celebrations of other holidays attract young families, but we have seen a decrease in commitment to bringing children to classes on a regular basis beyond those preparing their children for B’nai Mitzvot. Given the small number of students expected to enroll next year, we will only be able to run one Sunday School class next year, and this will be focused on Mitzvah students with Taegun Moon as teacher. Given this, and Laura Snow’s desire to spend time with her family and other pursuits, we will no longer have a Sunday School Director.
Beyond the decrease in our Sunday School, we have also seen a shift in individuals’ availability and willingness to volunteer for logistically heavy roles. We have not had a Program Committee, not for lack of Program Ideas or willing hosts, but because the overall job of overseeing, managing, and arranging is an extremely demanding volunteer commitment on top of families’ increased commitments to other interests and organizations. Likewise we have scrambled for High Holidays coordinator.
Given these circumstances, the Board has decided to shift the resources we have been using to pay a Sunday School director to instead fund a new Community Coordinator role. This person would work with and for the congregational community a few hours a week to facilitate and support the volunteering of members by handling logistical aspects of programming events, including Sunday School, Adult Ed, holiday celebrations, and other evening and weekend programs. We also plan to enhance our holiday celebrations by ensuring they are all intergenerational and that all include educational, as well as celebratory, components, and add additional intergenerational community education events in the months when there are not holidays. We hope that these types of events will continue to be popular with young families and that the work of the Community Coordinator will also lead to the revitalization of our Sunday School program and contribute to our congregation-wide efforts to increase membership over time.
We will discuss these changes at our next CHJ Board meeting, which is March 11 at 10:00 a.m. at Bedford Middle School. Our goal is to have a Community Coordinator in place over the summer. Please feel free to reach out to me or other board members in advance and I encourage everyone to attend.