Shaarei Tefillah's committees support a variety of activities vital to the shul. Each committee chair or co-chair serves as a member of the Board. All members are welcome to attend any committee meeting.
The following committees are described on this page:
Shaarei Tefillah's Chesed Committee strives to provide member families with aid and support in times of need, including death and bereavement, births, and Bikur Cholim.
(Various email addresses, see below)
The communications committee is responsible for the publication of our newsletter. Submissions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. The committee also maintains this website. The email address for website-related issues is email@example.com. The shul also has several active e-mail lists for announcements, resource and information sharing, and Israel Action and Awareness.
Shaarei Tefillah's Education Committee plans Talmud Torah initiatives for our shul. Guest speakers, scholars-in-residence, symposia, college shabbatonim, as well as occasional and ongoing shiurim (given by both Rabbi Samuels and members of the Congregation) are coordinated by this important committee. We take seriously the challenge of meeting the needs of a diverse community, and try to provide well-balanced educational events to suit a wide range of backgrounds and interests. For further information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. We welcome your input and suggestions. Check out the Shiurim and Upcoming Events page of this site for upcoming education programs at Shaarei; members of the wider Jewish community are always welcome.
Our mission is to raise money to augment the general treasury for the daily running of the shul. Our annual fundraising events are:
- Mishloach Manot: The shul sells, prepares, and delivers Purim Mishloach Manot to friends and relatives in neighboring towns and communities. We also mail Purim greeting cards all over the world. This mammoth project is truly a community effort.
- Cards and Inscriptions: At any time during the year, donation cards and book inscriptions are used to raise money for the shul. People inscribe Chumashim, Siddurim, and library books in honor of special occasions, bar/bat mitzvahs and other semachot, or in memory of loved ones. Donation cards are also sold and can be mailed directly by the purchaser for any occasion.
The house committee is responsible for the day-to-day management of the building's physical plant, including lights, air conditioning, outside maintenance, and coordination with our custodial staff.
The Alexander Altmann Memorial Library was established in the summer of 1988 after the death of Alexander Altmann, distinguished rabbi, scholar, mentor, founding member of Shaarei Tefillah and member of the Board of Halakhic Advisors, which governed the synogogue in its infancy. The core collection consists of Judaica and Hebraica, primarily basic sources for text study: Tanakh, Talmud, Midrash, encyclopaedias in Hebrew and English. During the last few years, some more specialized texts have been added: Tosefta and various studies in English on topics of interest, such as medical ethics.
Donations to the Library are accepted through the Library Committee, which maintains the collection, purchases new titles, and sends out donation cards. The recommeded donation for one card/bookplate is $36.00. Suggestions for new titles are always welcome. Please contact us for further information.
Our shul has grown from an initial group of approximately thirty families during its early years to over two hundred families today. Our members span all age ranges, including students, singles, married couples, young families with growing children, and older couples with married children and grandchildren. We strive to achieve a balance between continual growth and expansion, while remaining intimate enough to retain our "family" atmosphere.
Recruitment and welcoming of new members for Shaarei Tefillah is a high priority. We offer an incentive of half-price dues and complimentary High Holy Day seats for first year members, and special rates for students, singles, and families in need. We think you will find the people at Shaarei warm and welcoming, our davening inspirational and fulfilling, and our educational programs and social events fun and gratifying.
If your family is considering moving to Newton, or if you know someone who is, please contact our membership coordinators. Feel free to contact Rabbi Samuels as well.
The Ritual Committee is headed by our two gabbaim. In addition, there are several deputy Gabbaim in our shul who serve in a supplemental fashion to help run our daily minyanim, our Shabbat and Yom Tov minyan in the main sanctuary, and our hashkamah minyan on Shabbat morning and chaggim. The gabbaim also serve as members of the Executive Committee of the congregation.
The Gabbaim work closely with our Rabbi to set davening times and coordinate all aspects of minyanim: daily, Shabbat, Yamim Noraim (High Holy Days), and the Chaggim. Our elected Gabbaim also assign all kibudim (honors) for the Yamim Noraim, as well as throughout the year. They also stand ready to help a member commemorate a yahrzeit or celebrate a simchah. The Ritual Committee meets several times a year to discuss ritual practice for our Tefillah services.
The Social Action Committee, which was initiated in 1996, strives to coordinate programs which address community needs. We are active members of Family Table, an inter-denominational program which provides food to Jewish families in need all over the greater Boston area. Other initiatives we are considering include participation in the annual Walk for Hunger, a "mitzvah to mitzvah" program for Bar/Bat Mitzvah youth, and others.
The Tzedakah Committee collects funds from the synagogue membership in support of charitable needs outside the congregation. We prefer to support charities in the United States and Israel which provide direct aid to individuals, and in which our relatively modest support can help to make a difference. In some cases we have assisted individuals directly. Our funds come entirely from voluntary contributions, frequently coinciding with a Yom Tov or family simchah or remembrance.
The Women's Tefillah Group (WTG) of Congregation Shaarei Tefillah has gathered monthly since 1992 to daven and learn together. The WTG operates under the halakhic guidance of Rabbi Samuels, and builds upon the guidelines set by the shul's founding board of halakhic advisors. The WTG grew out of the shul's annual women's Torah reading on Simchat Torah, which began in 1985. In 1992 the group began to meet on Rosh Chodesh and in 1994, under the guidance of Rabbi Simkovich, began to meet for minchah each Shabbat Mevarchim Rosh Chodesh, in place of meeting on Rosh Chodesh itself. In 1997, the WTG was established as a standing committee of the shul with representation on the shul's Board.
The Youth Committee runs various activities for the younger members of our community, including programs for pre-schoolers, kindergarten and grade one, grades two through five. We also have activities for our teenagers.