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188 North Prospect Street
Burlington, Vermont 05401
(802) 864-0218

Affinity Groups and Chavurah (Friendship Groups)

Read about OZ’s current groups below.

Jewish Spirituality Havurah: Launching Fall 2023

This is the newest havurah project in our community.  This peer-led group is now open, and will consist of 7-20 adults with a focus on Jewish Spirituality.  This focus might include, for example, transformative experiences of lighting Shabbat candles, meditation, family stories, Jewish teachings and mysticism. The Havurah is open to people of all beliefs.

The Havurah is supported by a grant that is offered through Jewish Communities of Vermont and funded by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation.  “A Havurah aims to be an intimate, committed community where deep, caring, supportive relationships are fostered between the members of the group as they share and explore a Jewish focus of their own choosing.” –JCVT Havurah description

As a group with shared responsibility, members will together decide on the group’s specific focus within the area of spirituality and set agendas and focus for 9-12 gatherings per year.

Click here to see upcoming events.

Please fill out this form if interested in participating.  OZ member Ellen Gittelsohn is the coordinator.

Register or Comment Here

Tot Shabbat / Jewish Little Ones + Families (for families with children 0 to 5+)

This group is a welcoming place for families trying to get used to sleep deprivation, first steps and all the other joys of new children and creating Jewish family ritual. We host monthly Tot Shabbat religious services that have alternated between Friday night and Saturday mornings. For each month’s date, check our online calendar.

Before the pandemic, we hosted frequent havdallah potlucks for young families and had social outings like hiking with babies on backs and eating bagels.  We hope to begin this again soon.  We have a Facebook Group through which people can informally connect that you are welcome to join.

To get updates, join the this group’s mailing list

20s/30s Group

This group is a welcoming place for young people in their 20s and 30s to meet each other and build community in Burlington. We have built havdallah bonfires, shared shabbat dinners, gone hiking together, celebrated the holidays with parties and community. We have a Facebook Group through which folks can meet each other and share other events that we would love for you to join.

Join the mailing list.

LGBTQ+ Chavurah

After the launch of our inaugural Pride Seder in 2022, this group is launching in 2023 with a goal of generating meaningful connections and experiences for the jewish LGBTQ+ community and allies.  This is free program open to all, regardless of membership status.  We have funding to support roughly 10 gatherings a year and are seeking participants and fellow collaborators since by its nature the direction of this chavurah will be driven by its members.

Join our LGBTQ+ mailing list or express interest in the Chavurah here.

Singing Community

This group is nourished, enlivened & uplifted by song!  Inspired by the incredible Joey Weisenberg scholar in residence weekend in 2018, OZ’s singing community has continued to meet in song. Organizers Cantor Steve and Judy Danzig seek to curate the music to the interests of participants. Meeting in the yurt when possible, we offer tunes, melodies, songs, snacks, cozy blankets & smiling faces! Community abounding! And hopefully, YOU! EVERYONE is welcome.  Bring a friend!

Let’s make some (joyful, contemplative, hopeful, soulful, rejuvenating) noise!

Join the Singing Chavurah mailing list.

Arts and Culture Chavurah

This Chavurah launched several years ago focuses on community building and exploring different topics of interest related to Jewish arts and culture. Participants plan field trips to local and regional locations and create programs designed to connect to Judaism and to each other through creative outlets.

If you are interested in this community, please contact us.

Have Questions?  Looking for something else? Please Contact Us!


Chavurot (plural for chavurah) are friendship groups designed to build a community that desires a relationship with Judaism that is personal, social and creative. The Jewish focus in these groups is spiritual and interactive, providing an inviting and welcoming experience for those curious about but NOT necessarily experienced with Jewish ritual.

Chavurah FAQs

What is a Chavurah?

Chavurah, from the Hebrew meaning “Friendship.” A Chavurah is a small Jewish friendship group which consists of individuals (singles, couples, families, etc.) who want to share, learn, celebrate and enjoy their Judaism in an informal, friendly setting.

Why do people join a Chavurah?

People join for many reasons – the most important is the desire for community. People want to be with others to share experiences, explore values and develop friendships. Chavurah is a way to experience the synagogue and to develop a sense of intimacy with the entire congregation by breaking down the total size of the congregation into smaller groups.

How does a Chavurah work?

Chavurot (plural for chavurah) range in membership from about 6 to 24 people. They meet regularly, at least once a month, usually in the homes of the members on a rotating basis, but often go to different venues (plays, movies, concerts, etc.). Attending these meetings on a regular basis will insure the success of the group.

What will a Chavurah do for me?

Chavurah is an experience shaped by its members to reflect their own particular needs and interests. A spirit of togetherness is its distinctive beauty. The program is for those who like people and want to deepen their own Jewish identities by developing creative activities and events and learning together.

Who can join a Chavurah?

Interfaith couples or individuals, families and any person with an interest in Jewish life and ritual are welcome.  Specific groups may have additional focus and new groups may be created based on interest.

What are the expectations of joining a Chavurah?

Chavurah members are encouraged to attend events as much as possible in order to build a solid community of friends. Most members take responsibilitiy for planning or hosting an event once a year and helping to support hosts in cleaning up and preparing for events as needed . Chavurot have access to visits from clergy at the synagogue and help with event planning and ideas from the Chavurah Director.

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