Havurah Initiative

The Havurah Initiative (HI) encourages and provides funding for the formation of ongoing, intimate, peer-led groups that share and explore a Jewish focus of their own choosing. Havurot bring a richness of Jewish experience, personal meaning and interpersonal connection to their members.

Independent havurot (connected to HGF) will follow these guidelines. Havurot that are part of a partnering organization will follow the guidelines specific to that organization.

Each havurah that forms as part of the HI program will have a Connector who brings people together based on shared Jewish interests.

What is the role of the Connector?

  • Reach out to individuals who are looking for a Jewish connection; listen to their interests and ideas.
  • Convene with prospective members and facilitate an initial meeting to discuss group goals, focus, and next steps.
  • Help the group develop expectations around scheduling, communication, and decision-making.
  • Facilitate the members of the group taking full ownership of all aspects of the havurah.
  • Bring the support and resources offered by the HGF HI to the attention of the havurah
  • Attend sessions with other connectors and HGF HI staff for training, workshops, and idea sharing.
  • Complete a brief trimester report highlighting havurah developments, progress, challenges, and successes.
  • Stay in regular contact with HI staff.
  • Background checks are a requirement to be a connector in the HI.

Who qualifies?

To be eligible for the role of a connector in the HI, the individual must

  • Be a resident of Franklin, Hampden, or Hampshire counties
  • Be Jewish
    • If there are co-connectors, at least one of the connectors must identify as Jewish
  • Help to initiate and guide a havurah in its formation stage

Havurot guidelines and expectations

For a havurah to qualify, it must

  • Have a minimum of seven people
  • Meet nine times a year or more
  • Have a Jewish focus
  • Share leadership among its members

What funding is available?

  • Connectors will receive a $1,000 grant per year for up to two years for participating as a connector in the HI. This grant will be paid in three payments, contingent upon completion of trimester reports and continual meeting of HI expectations
    The HGF will also provide up to $1,000 per year for up to two years in funding to each Connector for program expenses and materials to be used for the havurah.

How does funding work?

If approved for the role of a connector in the HI, grant payments will be issued three times per year ($333 per trimester) based on completion of required reports. The check will be made out to the Connector and mailed to the Connector’s address.

Additionally, Connectors will have up to $1,000 per year to use toward program expenses and materials. Receipts must be submitted with the report.

Life Stages/Identities Interests Family Based
Fathers with Young Children Challah Baking Amherst Musical Families
Jewish Renewal Havdallah Greenfield Family Havurah
Life Balance and Aging Jewish Film Holyoke Families with Pre-teens
Mothers' Book Club Care Givers Lower Valley Families with Chickens
Women's Spirituality Kiddish Krew Lower Valley Families with Young Children
First Fridays for Young Adults Queer Torah Multi-Cultural Families
Hear Our Voices Shabbat Dinner Shabbat Dinner for Young Famlies
Interfaith Civil Rights Interfaith Families
South Street Moms' Book Club Young Families
Tots & Nosh Close-Knit Havurah PJ Families in Amherst
Grandparents Book Club Grandparents Circle
Post B'nai Mitzvah Moms (alef) Challah Baking (2) Interfaith Families
Post B'nai Mitzvah Moms (bet) Environmental Havurah Multi-Racial Families
Widows'-Widowers' Hiking Outdoors Young Interfaith Families
Young Professionals Religious School Teachers PJ Library Families
Caregivers Havurah Song Share  
Jews with ADHD    
Shabbat Seniors    
Wise Aging    

Blue = Independent

Green = Org:CBI

Purple = Org: Springfield JCC

Orange = Org: Federation of Greater Hartford

Red = In Process of Forming

Need help?

For any general questions about the HGF’s Havurah Initiative or for questions regarding the online grant system, please email [email protected].


The Harold Grinspoon Foundation reserves the right to decline any application.

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