We are a Modern Orthodox synagogue located in beautiful Newton Centre, Massachusetts, in the greater Boston area.
Our small, energetic shul aspires to provide an inclusive, friendly, and participatory atmosphere conducive to personal growth through tefillah, tzedakah, Torah study, serious religious expression, and building a supportive community of values and meaning.
As our Sages taught us so long ago: The world stands on three things: Torah, Avodah, Ug'milut Chasadim. At Shaarei, we too stand on — and just as importantly, we stand for — these three foundational pillars.
— Rabbi Benjamin Samuels
In January of 2014, the Orthodox Union recognized our synagogue as a Hineinu Synagogue, an exemplary national model of communal inclusivity. Our Shul’s inclusivity statement follows:
We are excited to partner with the Hineinu initiative of the Orthodox Union. At Shaarei Tefillah, we pride ourselves on our warm, welcoming Modern Orthodox community. However, we have learned over the years that creating an inclusive environment requires more than good will. A sincere call for inclusivity must be conveyed not only with greetings and invitations, but must be expressed through architecture and access, signage, wordage and programs. The strength of kehillah (community) should be measured not only in membership units and the length of weekly announcements, but also by our manifest inclusivity and our capacity as a halakhic community to learn and improve, to outreach and in-reach, to grow together through full encounter of Torah uMitzvot. When we built our new Shul building just a couple of years ago, a vision of inclusivity drove our process. We designed our Shul to communicate through structure and form that our Beit Kenesset, our home of spiritual ingathering, invites and values the participation of men and women, adults and children, abled and disabled, empty nesters and young families, frum-from-birth and newly religious seekers. We work hard to concretize this message through our programming and publicity as well. Joining the Hineinu initiative is our way of continuing to respond to this Divine call and charge of hakhel, of inclusivity. We sincerely hope that by stepping up to say “Here We Are,” we will inspire other Shuls to do likewise and invite those who have previously felt without community to join us with their own “Hineini — Here I am.”