In its own words, “The National Havurah Committee (NHC) is a network of diverse individuals and communities dedicated to Jewish living and learning, community building, and tikkun olam (repairing the world). For over 30 years, the NHC has helped Jews across North America envision a joyful grassroots Judaism, and has provided the tools to help people create empowered Jewish lives and communities. The NHC is nondenominational, multigenerational, egalitarian, and volunteer-run.”
Many people affiliated with the independent minyan scene, and/or organizations named Hadar, would find that they have a lot in common with the aims and ethos of the NHC and the members of that community. At heart, the Hadar world and the Havurah world share the critique of American Judaism’s reliance on institutions and the idea that Judaism is about living values, not supporting institutions per se. And many of the manifestations of that critique, in terms of the sorts of learning, discussions, prayer, and communities generated, are also shared between the two worlds.
Many folks have noticed some sentiment over the years, among Hadar and/or independent minyan individuals who have not attended NHC events, that the NHC is not for them. That may well be true. However, that sentiment is often grounded in a misunderstanding of what the NHC is, and the goal of this FAQ is to attempt to correct that.
Q: “Havurah”? Really? That still exists? Wasn’t the Havurah movement, like, in the 70s?