The Kehilla, in Atlanta (Sandy Springs), Georgia, USA
Updated (originally posted 12/16/15) with additional details and rating.
Breastfeeding in the Sanctuary:
It is permitted.
“Rabbi said there’s nothing problematic, natural. He said [breastfeeding is] permitted before the Torah, even during shmona esrei [the 18 blessings: a main portion of the service]. There are no limitations. One woman chooses no cover, and while some choose not to hide their discomfort, the shul has not issued a statement that this isn’t permitted.” Another respondent adds that “most people wear nursing covers”.
Private Nursing Locations:
There is no designated or private nursing room/space, but “There’s a baby playroom, but people are in and out of it.” It is labelled “Baby Room” and is in a central location. It has “a couple of couches and a rocker. Also, kids running around and toys.” It is accessible.
The website offers no policy about breastfeeding.
This community’s reaction to breastfeeding is “Mixed. I choose to nurse with a cover in the sanctuary and any other spaces, even walking around with baby in a carrier. Some have suggested to other nursing moms that there’s a comfortable couch in the baby room. No one has said anything to my face. I think there’s misinformation, people don’t understand that Rabbi has said it’s not problematic.” Visiting speakers have made breastfeeding more uncomfortable in the past.
General Child Friendliness:
There are changing tables available in the baby playroom. Strollers are parked in the hallway. There is space for kids’ toys and supplies. One respondent indicated that this includes a refrigerator available for pumped milk, another believes not. It may be a matter of making arrangements, or something may have changed, I don’t know.
“The attitude toward children in the main service is “currently a tense topic, with some believing their presence is essential to chinukh [Jewish education], and some believing they should be “seen but not heard.”
“Part of the struggle is that we are a young, new community. We have only been around 6 years, and babies have just shown up in the last 3. We are in the middle of a baby boom, and the community seems excited but confused about how to approach it.”
Bottlefeeding is equally accepted in this community: “A majority nurse. No real discussion around those using bottles. ”
This synagogue received ratings of
- Okay, it is just workable enough- 4
- Good, could make small improvements- 2
out of 7, where 1 is the best rating and 7 is the worst.
Rabbi Karmi Ingber (via the website) at http://www.thekehilla.org/contact/rabbi/Synagogue