“When two people relate to each other, authentically and humanly, God is in the electricity that surges between them.”

Martin Buber

What are B’Bayit Groups?


Emanu-El B’Bayit groups are a new way for you to find your people at Emanu-El, get to know a small group of fellow congregants well, and help make our large congregation feel small. One of Emanu-El’s strengths is the breadth and scope of our large congregation, and Emanu-El B’Bayit groups are an opportunity to help you find a sense of home and belonging within our community.




What am I signing up for when I join a group?


You are signing up to meet four times with the same group of congregants. Chavurot and Chuggim will meet about once a month (August to December), and Elul Groups will meet weekly during the month of Elul (August to mid-September). At the end of this fall season each group will have the opportunity to decide if they want to continue meeting in 2021.




How are B’Bayit groups organized?  How many people will be in each group?


Formed by interests, geography, needs, or demographics, each group will consist of up to 20 individuals or 10 families, who join together regularly to celebrate, play, pray, and/or learn with each other. Each B’Bayit group is led by a fellow member of Emanu-El.




Will my group meet in person or virtually?


B’Bayit groups can meet virtually or in person with an eye towards the ever-changing realities of our world in 2020. Meeting style (online, outside in person, indoors, etc) will depend on the preferences of group members and current city and state health regulations.




How are B’Bayit meetings scheduled?


Each group will set its own meeting dates and calendar together based on group availability and preferences. Most meetings will be about 1 hour, depending on how much time your group wants to spend together.




Are there any dates I should mark in my calendar?


In addition to your group meetings, all B’Bayit groups will launch together with a special Havdalah to mark the start of Elul on Saturday August 29 with Rabbi Parris and all groups will conclude for the fall season with a candle lighting for Chanukah in December.




Do I need to renew my membership before joining a B’Bayit group?


Yes! B’Bayit groups are a benefit of Emanu-El membership. If you would like to join a group make sure to renew your membership today: https://www.emanuelsf.org/about-us/membership




What if I don’t see a group that interests me?


Get in touch with Rabbi Sarah Parris (sparris@emanuelsf.org) or Leah Shapiro (lshapiro@emanuelsf.org) and they will guide you on the process of designing your own new B’Bayit group.




Do any other synagogues do things like this?


Yes! In launching Emanu-El B’Bayit small groups, we are particularly grateful for the thought partnership of Temple Beth El in Charlotte, as well as the small groups resources from Central Synagogue in New York, The Temple in Atlanta, and the Union for Reform Judaism.




What does B'Bayit mean?


B’Bayit is Hebrew for “at home” and Emanu-El B’Bayit is our way of bringing our congregation direct to you.





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