Havurah is derived from the word haver (friend) in Hebrew, but it also has the meaning of a ‘circle’, ‘joining’ or ‘fraternity’. A Havurah therefore is a circle of friends joined together in a common ideal or search for an authentic spiritual life.
Since its reopening in 1999, Etz Hayyim Synagogue has attracted a community of its own making that has evolved into a Havurah or fraternity of persons who share certain common values in spite of their different nationalities, socio-cultural backgrounds and religious faiths. Our Havurah members act as caretakers of the synagogue as a place of prayer and recollection. They represent observant, conservative, reform, reconstructionist or secularised Jews, while other members are Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, atheist and agnostic.
What binds us all together is a sense of the need for community, inclusivity and the sharing of a common pursuit rather than, in the words of Nikos Stavroulakis, “the consumer-oriented, ecologically indifferent and valueless society that, by necessity, we are also a part of”. Etz Hayyim and its Havurah welcome anyone wishing to learn about and/or participate in the religious, spiritual, social and cultural life of our synagogue.