Chavurah Masarti

Lynchburg, VA                  Founded on 2 Cheshvan, 5766 

Who Are We?
What Do We Do?
Why Do We Meet?
How Often Do We Meet?
A Note About Our Name
More About Lynchburg



 Who Are We?
Chavurah Masarti is an unaffiliated Jewish Community, rooted in tradition, that allows for a rich exploration of Jewish culture, activity and spirituality. We are a participatory, self-led community that recognizes full ritual equality between men and women.
Chavurah Minhag
A drash on our "unaffiliated" status
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What Do We Do?
We follow the Conservative liturgy (Silverman Siddur) for our basic observance and the Reform liturgy (Gates of Repentance) for our High Holy Day observance, augmented with materials from a variety of other sources.  We also create opportunities either during or after our services for exploration of other aspects of our rich and vibrant tradition.  In addition to meeting for Shabbat and Holiday services, we engage in organized study, social activity, and we sponsor social action projects.
Activities   Calendar   Prayer   Study
Chavurah Minhag
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Why Do We Meet?
We recognize that the world contains a variety of meaningful religious and secular approaches to spirituality, but it is our goal to create an energetic atmosphere in which Jews can explore and express their unique connection to the values, history, culture and ritual of our people.  “Chavurah Masarti” literally translates as “Traditional Chavurah”.  A chavurah is a small group of friends who gather in a less formal manner than a standard congregation.  Many chavurot exist within larger congregations and involve subsets of individuals with similar interests.  In our case, we are a free standing chavurah; an independent minyan.  The word “traditional” (מָסָרְתִּי) is not meant to indicate any particular theological commitment of the members, but to set a tone of serious connection to the historical and cultural experience of being Jewish while providing a specifically Jewish atmosphere for the personal exploration of intellectual and theological issues.  There is no theological ‘litmus test’ for membership in this Chavurah.  We seek to create a Jewish communal environment where Jews can be Jewish with one another.
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How Often Do We Meet?
We  gather for tefillah twice per month, once for Kabbalat Shabbat and dinner and once for services only.  We may choose some months to meet for alternative services such as Havdalah or to celebrate a holiday together.  We meet an additional once per month for study.  When the opportunity arises, the Chavurah also organizes attendance at relevant lectures or other Jewish cultural events.  Members of the Chavurah make an attempt to support each other at important life-cycle events where a Jewish presence is welcomed.
Activities   Calendar   Prayer   Study
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A Note About Our Name:
As indicated on the "Why Do We Meet Page", a chavurah is a small group of friends who gather in a less formal manner than a standard congregation.  Since we are not a formal synagogue, we thought that the word 'chavurah' best describes our structure and function.  That was the easy part.  The harder part was to find an adjective to describe our chavurah.  We wanted a word that indicates that we are committed to understanding and engaging in Jewish tradition, although we did not want to indicate a particular theological approach.  The Hebrew adjective 'traditional' is מָסָרְתִּי 'masarti' and it is related to the Hebrew noun 'tradition', מָסֹרֶת  'masoret'.  Interestingly, this word is also related to the Hebrew verb למסור 'leemsor', 'to transmit'.  The Hebrew word for tradition has been adopted by the Conservative Movement which is known internationally as "Masorti Judaism".  We wanted to identify with tradition, but not indicate that we are part of the masorti movement.  Therefore, we adopted the adjectival version of the word for our own chavurah, but spelled the transliteration differently.  One could argue that 'masorti' is a better transliteration than 'masarti', but in actuality, neither is perfect.  The vowel sound in the second syllable is neither an 'ah' nor and 'oh', but somewhere in between.  Perhaps the best transliteration might be 'masoarti'.  Nevertheless, we thought that 'masarti' sufficiently describes us without linking us to a movement, so it feels comfortable.
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More About Lynchburg:

Lynchburg, Virginia is a picturesque community located in Central Virginia.  Lynchburg residents appreciate the City as a great place to live, to raise a family, to learn, and to work and prosper. Lynchburg is a community rich in history and diverse in culture. As the dynamic center of a growing region, the City is well known for its quality of life. Residents enjoy the City’s rare combination of small town charm and big city offerings.

Lynchburg is home to a wide variety of religious institutions including one reform synagogue and our chavurah.  The Jewish presence in Lynchburg dates back well over 100 years and continues to play an active role in our diverse community.

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