Our Vision

What is Nehar Shalom – River of Peace?

An old model made new. A shtibl is a small shul, a Chassidic prayer room in origin, often in the rabbi’s house. It is a place of unpretentious warmth, of joyful simplicity, a gathering place in simcha and sorrow, laughter and tears, pulsating with life, a place of fervent prayer and learning, engagement of people with one another, with God and with one’s own soul.

Nehar Shalom draws on the warmth of the traditional shtibl, but strives to be more, more inclusive and more responsive to the world. Committed to social justice, Nehar Shalom is a place from which Jews can respond as Jews to the needs of the wider community and of the world in which we live. Building bridges with people of other faiths and communities, Nehar Shalom values learning about and from each other, while pursuing together tikkun olam, repair of the world.

What does it mean to be inclusive, traditional and egalitarian?

It means to be a participatory community that is in love with the beauty of Jewish tradition, whose collective heartbeat throbs with the cadence of Jewish life, celebrating together the sacred weave of time as marked by the Jewish calendar.

It means to be strong enough in our love for Jewish tradition that we can question, challenge, and wrestle with tradition, just as our father Jacob wrestled with God.

It means to draw on the depths of Jewish wisdom and teaching, honoring the challenge and the requirements of Jewish law, while breathing new life into its spirit, so that none of our people are excluded. Nehar Shalom is a non-judgmental community where all are welcome, all Jews seeking a place among their people, those who are not Jewish but who have a Jewish partner, or who in their own seeking are drawn to learn more about Judaism and the Jewish people.

What does Nehar Shalom offer?

It offers the opportunity to be part of creating a new Jewish community that, with God’s help, shall be worthy of being called holy. Nehar Shalom offers a place of Torah, of learning, of prayer and spiritual seeking, of service to others and to the world itself, for adults and for children. It is a place where differences are not feared and unity not posited on avoidance of what is difficult, where all manner of issues can be brought forward for the sake of respectful dialogue and debate, talking with each other for the sake of Heaven.

Nehar Shalom is a place where the basic skills for living Jewish life can be learned at any stage without shame or embarrassment, where all are encouraged and accomplishment celebrated in the embrace of community.

Nehar Shalom offers Jewish community that is readily accessible to all. It offers the richness of Jewish living for people of all ages and backgrounds, where generations can learn one from the other, and where those with much Jewish learning and those with little can each find a home. Every person has something to learn and to teach. At Nehar Shalom the opportunity to do both shall be there for all. Nehar Shalom offers traditional davenning in Chassidic style, prayer rising on wings of song. Heeding the teaching of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, that melody has the great power to draw a person to the Holy One, all shall be helped to find their voice.

Nehar Shalom offers the gathering place of a community through which to celebrate together Jewish cycles of time. We gather to mark the holy days of the year, the monthly renewal of the moon and of ourselves, the cycle of days, which each week brings us home to Shabbos, and the cycle of each day marked through times of prayerful pause.

The Jewish cycle of life unfolds through community. Nehar Shalom is a place to sing for joy upon the birth of a child, a place to share the nachas of Bar and Bas Mitzvah and to celebrate the union of two people in love. When a loved one is gathered to her or his people, Nehar Shalom is a place to find comfort as a mourner and, in the cycle of memory, a place to say kaddish on a yahrzeit, the anniversary of a death.

Nehar Shalom is a place to receive the care and counsel and teaching of a rabbi with many years of experience in all facets of the congregational rabbinate.