Information about this center is no longer updated. This data was last updated on 25 September 2018.Phone: 617-864-6388
History Reflecting the diverse population of Cambridge, Temple Beth Shalom represents a unique, creative yet traditional approach to Judaism. It emphasizes the eternal values of worship, study, and social relationships, allowing everyone to participate in whatever way feels comfortable. Programs include regular religious services, children's services, family programs, community dinners, and adult and family education. All holidays are celebrated with services and appropriate observances. Description The shul (a Yiddish word that is commonly translated as “synagogue”) is located near Central Square, tucked on a residential street between Harvard and MIT. A number of congregants are affiliated with one of the universities. The synagogue building is used for services and events throughout the week. The main prayer room consumes most of the first floor. The basement of the shul is used for services and also houses the periodic children’s shabbat services. Activities and Schedule The Tremont Street Shul’s services are entirely lay-led. Every shabbat (the Jewish sabbath that begins Friday night at sundown), two services run concurrently in the synagogue. Some congregants participate in an egalitarian service, where both women and men lead. At the same time a traditional service is held with a mechitza (Hebrew for “divider,” used to separate men and women during services). Both services are conducted entirely in Hebrew. After the services, both groups come together for a sit-down kiddush, where the blessing over the wine is said before a light lunch. Both the egalitarian and traditional services are also held at various other times during the week. A children’s shabbat service is held at the synagogue twice monthly. There is also a vibrant 20s and 30s group at Temple Beth Shalom. It is not specifically limited to singles, and the group coordinates many activities, such as ice cream outings and hiking trips during the spring and summer. Special Events A unique event at Beth Shalom is the popular simchat Torah celebration that for many years has drawn as many as 1000 or more people. The simchat Torah celebration marks the conclusion of the annual reading of the Torah, which is read in parts throughout the year. The festivities mark that the cycle of reading will start anew. Part of the fun-filled service is the hakafot, or circuits of dancing around the synagogue, that take the congregation out onto Tremont Street for singing and dancing well into the night. Traditionally this service has included a wide cross-section of the Greater Boston community, including special participation of local college Hillel groups. Affiliation with Other Communities and Organizations The shul is involved in Faith Kitchen, where free, homemade meals are served to those in need twice every month in cooperation with the Islamic Society of Boston and Faith Lutheran Church. The event takes place at the Faith Lutheran Church in Cambridge, located just around the corner from the shul. Faith Kitchen is held on the second and last Tuesday of every month.