Our Name

Why the name Nehar Shalom?

In the book of Bereshit/Genesis, we read “Nahar yotzei me’ aiden”, a river goes forth from Eden. This primordial river waters the Garden, and then, branching into four riverheads, it flows out into the world. Flowing from a place of wholeness and peace, the river carries with it the spirit of its source. As Shabbos offers not a retreat from the world, but a respite in time from which to return to the world with vision renewed, so too, a place of Eden in our lives.

The shtibl Nehar Shalom is just such a place of Eden. We are the rivers, flowing from a common source, each carrying from the place of our gathering a spirit of wholeness and peace out into the world.

Nehar Shalom is the name of a work by an 18th century Jerusalem kabbalist, Rabbi Shalom Sharabi, who teaches of the healing powers of the four rivers of Eden. The prophet Isaiah consoles Jerusalem, offering God’s comfort that shall flow unto her k’nahar shalom, as a river of peace.

The name Nehar Shalom contains a reminder of the sacredness to be sought in our way of relationship with each other — within our own community, within the world community, and within the worlds of our own lives. The letters nun and shin (The N and S of Nehar Shalom in English) also form the Aramaic word, NaSh, which means human being. The holiness of a community is built upon the holiness of each person, upon the recognition of God’s image in each other.