• Click Here to Register for NHC's Summer Institute 2024

    See the Course Listings

    Registration deadline: June 18th

    This year’s theme of עִיר מִקְלָט “Ir Miklat: City of Refuge” can be found in a small corner of parshat Matot-Masei (Numbers 30:2 - 36:13). It epitomizes how we want this year’s institute to feel: a space where both the individual and the community at the heart of the Havurah ethos can come together in a safe space to create something meaningful, where our connections are welcoming and inclusive, fun and exciting, relaxing and energizing, and insightful and spiritually significant for our diverse community of participants.

    The Core Team envisions Institute as our City of Refuge--a place that’s safe--this year more than ever. What is it YOU need refuge from? We welcome you to join us at Pearlstone Center for sanctuary and refuge, to renew and refresh, and to play, rest, create and learn with us! Summer Institute will take place july 29-August 4, 2024.

NHC Community Safety Policy

NHC Community Safety Policy

 

(Established 7/23/2021)

The National Havurah Committee strives to create safe, comfortable, supportive, and enjoyable spaces for learning and fellowship among participants. The following guidelines are designed to help the entire community be thoughtful about the ways in which we, individually and collectively, nurture these spaces and relate to the people in them.

The work of formally drafting these guidelines is new to us as an organization. We welcome input, and expect that our guidelines will evolve over time.

Affirmative Consent

We seek to foster a culture of affirmative consent regarding both physical and verbal interactions. If you are unsure whether a touch or a line of conversation is welcome, ask before initiating it. If someone tells you to stop (with words or other signals), stop immediately. Respect that by asserting their personal boundaries and comfort, they are creating a safer space for everybody, regardless of your intentions.

If you are uncomfortable with a touch or line of conversation, you have the right to say “no” and state that it needs to stop. While some may choose to use NHC spaces to challenge or step outside of their own comfort zones, no one is obligated to do anything uncomfortable.

The NHC rejects all forms of sexual harassment and sexual assault, including but not limited to, unwelcome sexual advances, unwanted intimate conversation, and/or physical contact without consent or after a request to stop.

While we strive to be an egalitarian organization, we recognize that power differentials do exist and can be experienced between community members. These may be based on leadership and public roles at Institute, years in the community, gender, sex, sexual orientation, race, disability status, wealth, age, and other factors. Any behavior that exploits these, or any other power differences, to coerce consent or breach a community member’s physical or emotional boundaries is a violation of our communal values. (One example of an Institute-specific power differential: To reduce the risk of unintentional exploitation or coercion, teachers of weeklong courses at Institute should not initiate romantic relationships with students in their courses until the week of the course is over.)

Supporting victims and Commitment to Teshuvah

The NHC strives to prioritize the needs of community members who experience harassment or assault. For concerns brought during a retreat, program, or event every effort will be made to make the remainder of that retreat, program, or event as safe and enjoyable an experience as possible. In some cases, time will be needed after the retreat has concluded for fuller conversations and responses.  

At the same time, the NHC is a community committed to teshuvah (repentance).  We understand that people are not defined by their worst actions, and that each of us is capable of learning and growth.

The Community Council holds these two values in tension – centering community members who are victims of harassment or assault, while at the same time recognizing our commitment to teshuvah – as we respond  to those who have violated the community safety guidelines.  The Community Council will encourage restorative processes and paths of teshuvah where possible, which may include temporary or indefinite restrictions on NHC leadership, attendance, and/or participation. These decisions will be informed by the severity of the violation, and whether the person poses an ongoing threat to the survivor or other members of the NHC community, and the needs and participation of both the transgressor and the victim.

Your role, NHC Response

We strongly encourage community members who have experienced or witnessed violations of these guidelines to bring them to the Community Council (reachable year-round at communitycouncil@havurah.org). We recognize that these may happen at NHC events or in other spaces shared by members of the NHC community.

If you have experienced or witnessed a violation of these guidelines during an online session, please reach out to the Host of the online session, a designated “Safe Space” facilitator at the session, or a member of the Community Council.  A member of the Community Council will follow up with you, and the person violating these guidelines or causing discomfort may be counselled, required to limit participation, or if necessary, removed from the virtual session.

We recognize and are grateful for the strength and generosity of people who come forward. If someone does not feel comfortable coming to the Community Council, for any reason, they may also contact the NHC Chair (chair@havurah.org), any member of the Executive Committee, or the Program Director (office@havurah.org).

The Community Council is not a legal body and its deliberations are not legal proceedings. The Community Council serves at the pleasure of the NHC Board, and as needed, coordinates closely with the Community Safety Committee of the NHC Board.  The Community Council is guided by principles of support for the agency and needs of victims, including respect for privacy and confidentiality. In certain cases, however, such as if abuse of a minor is suspected, we may be bound by, and will respect, mandatory reporting laws. We will also observe any guidelines required by a hosting retreat site.

The Community Council and the Board are both composed of volunteers from our community. We commit to our best efforts, recognize that they too may sometimes fall short of what would be desired, and that this is an area of ongoing growth for all of us. We ask for your patience, constructive engagement, and forgiveness when we fall short.

 

(Established in 2019)

The National Havurah Committee strives to create safe, comfortable, supportive, and enjoyable spaces for learning and fellowship among participants. The following guidelines are designed to help the entire community be thoughtful about the ways in which we, individually and collectively, nurture these spaces and relate to the people in them.

The work of formally drafting these guidelines is new to us as an organization as it is to many communities. We welcome input, and expect that our guidelines will evolve over time.

We seek to foster a culture of affirmative consent regarding both physical and verbal interactions. If you are unsure whether a touch or a line of conversation is welcome, ask before initiating it. If someone tells you to stop (with words or other signals) step back immediately. Respect that by maintaining their personal boundaries and comfort, they are creating a safer space for everybody, regardless of your intentions.

If you are uncomfortable with a touch or line of conversation, you have the right to say “no” and state that it needs to stop. While some may choose to use NHC spaces to challenge or step outside of their own comfort zones, no one is obligated to do anything uncomfortable.

The NHC rejects all forms of sexual harassment and sexual assault, including but not limited to, unwelcome sexual advances, unwanted intimate conversation, and/or physical contact without consent or after a request to stop.

While we strive to be an egalitarian organization, we recognize that power differentials do exist and can be experienced between community members. These may be based on leadership and public roles at Institute, years in the community, gender, sex, sexual orientation, race, disability status, wealth, age, and other factors. Any behavior that exploits these, or any other power differences, to coerce consent or breach a community member’s physical or emotional boundaries is a violation of our communal values. (One example of an Institute-specific power differential: To reduce the risk of unintentional exploitation or coercion, teachers of weeklong courses at Institute should not initiate romantic relationships with students in their courses until the week of the course is over.)

We strongly encourage community members who have experienced or witnessed violations of these guidelines to bring them to the Community Council (reachable year-round at communitycouncil@havurah.org). We recognize that these may happen at NHC events or in other spaces shared by members of the NHC community. We recognize and are grateful for the strength and generosity of people who come forward. If someone does not feel comfortable coming to the Community Council, for any reason, they may also contact the NHC Chair (chair@havurah.org), any member of the Executive Committee, or the Program Director (office@havurah.org).

The Community Council will prioritize the needs of community members who are victims of harassment or assault. For complaints brought during a retreat, every effort will be made to make the remainder of that retreat a safe and enjoyable experience for the person who has experienced harassment. In some cases, time will be needed after the retreat has concluded for fuller conversations and responses. Additionally, if anyone is making you feel uncomfortable in an online session, please reach out to the designated Safe Space person or the host of the online session immediately.  The person making you uncomfortable will be removed and you will both be referred to the Community Council for follow up.

The Community Council will consider a range of responses for those who have violated the guidelines, which may include temporary or permanent restrictions on attending NHC events, teaching at NHC events, and/or serving in leadership roles within the NHC. In some cases, the council may also support paths of teshuvah (repentance) for those who have violated.

The Community Council is not a legal body and its deliberations are not legal proceedings. The Council is guided by principles of support for the agency and needs of victims, including respect for privacy and confidentiality. In certain cases, however, such as if abuse of a minor is suspected, we may be bound by, and will respect, mandatory reporting laws. We will also observe any guidelines required by a hosting retreat site.

Comments are closed.