Finding a Jewish community
August 16, 2017 9:01 AM   Subscribe

With everything that's been happening lately, I've started to want more of a connection with my local Jewish community. Problem is, I don't know where to start.

I live near Somerville, MA and also spend a lot of time up near the southern border of New Hampshire. I don't know anyone else in the area who's Jewish (aside from a very racist uncle I can't deal with right now), so I don't have anyone to ask.

I'd appreciate recommendations for synagogues, community centers, groups, newsletters, magazines, online communities, volunteer opportunities, whatever. Bonus points if they'd be welcoming to my Gentile boyfriend.
posted by marfa, texas to Religion & Philosophy (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I am in a similar place, both mentally and literally (I'm in JP). If you want a buddy to go on synagogue visits with you, let me know.
posted by ChuraChura at 9:23 AM on August 16, 2017 [2 favorites]

There are synagogues in Somerville, Cambridge, Medford, and a community in Arlington. Check out for lots of events. Let me know if you want more details.
posted by papergirl at 9:39 AM on August 16, 2017

I might start by giving Chabad a call. They're orthodox, but they can point you toward various Jewish groups in your community.
posted by holborne at 9:43 AM on August 16, 2017

The historic Vilna Shul on Beacon Hill has regular programs called HOH, Havurah on the Hill, really friendly folks across a wide spectrum of the community. (The building seems old, well it is, but they are restoring it slowly, almost archaeologically to respect the different periods)
posted by sammyo at 10:07 AM on August 16, 2017

My sister, who lives in Somerville, says "Temple Bnai Brith has young adult meet ups and Shabbats and is very open minded! I haven't gotten involved yet but have been meaning to."
posted by likedoomsday at 10:26 AM on August 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

My brother who lives in Cambridge occasionally goes to events at The Tremont Street Shul; from when I've tagged along with him, they've been very welcoming and warm. They've got a range of worship styles and activities going on there.
posted by damayanti at 10:54 AM on August 16, 2017

Reform and reconstructionist synagogues will be the most likely to welcome gentiles.

Chabad is run by Hasids, who are fundamentalist. I would avoid them.
posted by brujita at 11:37 AM on August 16, 2017 [3 favorites]

Hi, fellow Somervillan here! Shul shopping can be intimidating. We belong to Beth El Temple Center in Belmont. It's a reform synagogue, and I've found the community there welcoming. We're gearing up for my daughter's bat mitzvah this year. I can say that her non-Jewish stepmom feels welcome at services and school events.

There's also Havurat Shalom in Somerville, near Powderhouse Square. I have friends who are members there, and love it.

Then there's Shir Tikvah in Winchester, and more synagogues than you can shake a stick at in the burbs (I work for one during the school year).

Good luck, and feel free to memail for more info on BETC.
posted by SobaFett at 12:25 PM on August 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

When I lived in the area, Boston Workmen's Circle had a lot of outreach and education for the gentile community, as well as activism at the local level in Boston and the surrounds.
posted by givennamesurname at 6:32 AM on August 17, 2017

Depending on your beliefs, there's also a non-theistic Jewish Humanist congregation around. I don't know anything about them except that they exist -- I've just been curious. Based on Google, this is probably the group I heard about.
posted by daisyace at 2:14 PM on August 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

Sorry this is so late in the game, but if the Porter Square Minyan is still going strong, that's a lovely, informal, inclusive way to connect to the young-professional side of the Cambridge/Somerville Jewish community. I haven't lived in the area in nigh on 20 years, but back then it would get about 30-40 people for each monthly shabbat service / potluck dinner. Very friendly, cool people, always a highlight of the month for me.

The Jewish Boston page still lists it -- but the contact person is given as someone I remember from the late 90s, so either things have been remarkably stable this millennium or (probably more likely) the group died out a while back and nobody contacted the page's admin to tell him to take the listing down.

Worth a try to call, though.
posted by sesquipedalia at 11:47 AM on August 25, 2017

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