Category Archives: Northeast USA

Breastfeeding at: Temple Beth Israel, Waltham, MA

Temple Beth Israel in Waltham, Massachussetts

Breastfeeding in the Sanctuary:

It is both permitted and welcome.

It “Hasn’t been addressed in writing, but I’ve nursed there without issue, trying to cover up without nursing. No one ever commented.   I usually cover up or sit not facing people, but haven’t felt inconvenienced.”

Private Nursing Locations:

“Unofficially, there is a children’s room and downstairs play areas.” The Children’s Room is the space that used to be the Bridal Room.  It is “Near [the] sanctuary, next to the kitchen. And downstairs there are more rooms.”  There are chairs and cushions there.  

Other Information:

There are plenty of options for spaces to nurse, if you don’t want to nurse in the sanctuary or the children’s room.  They are not designated for the purpose, but are often available.

 

Genera Child Friendliness:

There is a changing table in the Children’s Room.  There is space for strollers to be parked, and there is space for children’s supplies in the coat room.  If you needed to store pumped milk, you could probably put it in the main fridge, preferably with a label with your name.

“The congregation loves seeing and hearing children.”  They are welcome in the main service.  The website adds that “Temple Beth Israel provides babysitting every Shabbat from 10-12.  We have a large, carpeted playroom downstairs with a variety of books, toys and games and sufficient space for both quiet and active play.  Children are also joyfully welcome in the main service and often move between the playroom and services.”  There is a monthly children’s service, aimed at children ages 2-7.

Bottle-feeding is fine in this community.

Wrap-Up:

This synagogue received a  rating of

    • Great, could barely be better- 1

out of 7, where 1 is the best rating, and 7 is the worst.

Contact Information:

Rabbi David Finkelstein at rabbidavid@tbiwaltham.org

Synagogue Website:  http://tbiwaltham.org

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Breastfeeding at: Woodstock Jewish Congregation- Kehillat Lev Shalem, Woodstock, NY

Kehillat Lev Shalem- Woodstock Jewish Congregation, in Woodstock, New York, USA

Nursing in the Sanctuary:

Breastfeeding is permitted in the service.  “Members have invited us to come to services with our little kids — they had to know it would happen.”

Private Nursing Locations:

There is no private breastfeeding location.

Other Information:

No information is publicized about the synagogue policy on breastfeeding.

“Most people in the synagogue are fairly progressive. I do notice that because I am still BFing my 2-y-o, some people kind of look surprised when they see us — but also he doesn’t nurse that often any more so it doesn’t happen all that often.”

General Child Friendliness:

There is a changing table in the Women’s bathrooms, and in the Men’s bathrooms. There is no stroller parking or space for kids’ stuff.

“They do a great job of having alternative programming for kids during main services. I’ve always felt that I can bring my kids to services, but if they are unruly people do talk to them about it. (Not in a stern/punishing way, but asking them to behave.)”

I have no information about bottlefeeding at this synagogue.  If you do, please do share it!

Wrap-Up:

This synagogue received a rating of

  • Alright, it works pretty well- 3

out of 7 (where 1 is the best rating and 7 is the worst)

Contact Information:

Rabbi Aura Bartfeld Ahuvia at rabbiaura@wjcshul.org

Synagogue website: http://www.wjcshul.org/

 

 

Breastfeeding at: Young Israel of Brookline, Brookline, MA

Young Israel of Brookline in Brookline, Massachussetts, USA

Updated with more nursing room details, additional changing table location, additional rating (Originally published June 10, 2015)

Breastfeeding in the Sanctuary:

It nay or may not be permitted, but has been done.  The respondent adds that “I would guess no one would bother a woman nursing under a cover in the upstairs section. I’m not sure about a woman who would nurse without a cover or in the downstairs section.”  She does not have personal experience nursing in the sanctuary, not having thought to do so.

Private Nursing Locations:

There is a nursing room, called the Nursing Mothers’ Room/Bride Room.  It is near the upstairs women’s section, and is attached to the main women’s bathroom but separated from it by a door.  That door (the one from the bathroom) is labeled, but the other door is not.  People tend to find it by asking around. There are two chairs.  “Usually women who are using it lock the door so a second woman can’t gain access without the first woman letting her in.  Sometimes kids play in there but they leave when you kick them out.” It is not accessible if you use most mobility aids (wheelchair, etc).

Other Information:

There is no publicized information about the synagogue’s breastfeeding policy.

Congregational attitudes are comfortable with nursing using a nursing cover, which seems to be the communal norm.

General Child Friendliness:

There are changing tables in the women’s bathroom and men’s bathroom.  Many of the other bathrooms have long counters that are not designated as changing tables, but might be easily used as such.  Strollers are generally parked against the walls in the main hallway or outside the shul on the patio. There is a ramp to enter the building.  There is no particular space for children’s supplies.

Kids are expected to be quiet in the sanctuary. However, there is a fair amount of noise as a rule but no one says anything. People are only strict on Purim, the High Holidays, etc.  Kids do come in to the service to get candy all the time.

Wrap-Up:

This synagogue received ratings of

  • “Alright, it works pretty well- 3” out of 7
  • Okay, it is just workable enough- 4
  • where 1 is the best rating, and 7 the worst.

    Contact Information:

    Rabbi David Hellman at rabbihellman@yibrookline.org

    Synagogue Website: www.yibrookline.org

    Breastfeeding at: Shomrei Torah, Wayne, NJ

    Shomrei Torah, in Wayne, New Jersey, USA

    Breastfeeding in the Sanctuary:

    It is permitted.  There is “No written policy. Someone once asked and we said go ahead.”

    Private Nursing Locations:

    There is no designated nursing room/space, but one may use the rabbi’s office (near the sanctuary).  To find it and get access, ask an usher.

    Other Information:

    The website offers no policy about breastfeeding.

    “Most of our members are welcoming of young people with whatever that entails.”  During synagogue programming (other than services), some mothers breastfeed in the program, others use the rabbi’s office.  “It is not something that is a regular occurrence, but when it comes up, it has not been an issue.”

    General Child Friendliness:

    There are changing tables available in the women’s bathroom and the men’s bathrooms.  People leave strollers in the lobby or the center isle.  Kids’ stuff s left wherever is convenient- there is no designated space, but it is welcomed.

    The attitude toward children in the main service is welcoming.  The rabbi says of children in the service: “they, they toys, their noise and their parents are all welcome”.

    Bottlefeeding is also accepted as “just fine” in this community.

    Wrap-Up:

    This synagogue received a rating of

    • Alright, it works pretty well- 3

    out of 7, where 1 is the best rating and 7 is the worst.

    Contact Information:

    Rabbi  Randal Mark at rabbi@shomreitorahwcc.org or 973-696-2500

    Synagogue Website: http://shomreitorahwcc.org/

    Breastfeeding at: B’nai Jacob, Phoenixville, PA

    B’nai Jacob, in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, USA

    Breastfeeding in the Sanctuary:

    It is permitted.  “I’ve done it. I’ve seen others do it. And no one has made any objections. Our rabbi (before she left this past summer) was very pro-breastfeeding and fine with us nursing in the sanctuary.”  Doing so is comfortable.

    Private Nursing Locations:

    There is no designated nursing room/space.

    Other Information:

    The website offers no policy about breastfeeding.

    The community is supportive and positive about breastfeeding.

    General Child Friendliness:

    There are no changing tables.  There is no stroller parking, or place for children’s stuff.

    Please tell me about the attitude toward children in the main service, and about attitudes toward bottlefeeding!  

    Wrap-Up:

    This synagogue received a rating of

    • Okay, it is just workable enough- 4

    out of 7, where 1 is the best rating and 7 is the worst.

    Contact Information:

    This synagogue is in the process of hiring a new rabbi.

    admin@congbj.org

    Synagogue Website: http://www.congbj.org/

    Breastfeeding at: The White Shul, Far Rockaway, NY

    The White Shul, in Far Rockaway, NY, USA

    Breastfeeding in the Sanctuary:

    It may or may not be permitted, but the respondent has never seen it done.  Babywearing has been seen, at the back of the women’s section.

    Private Nursing Locations:

    There is no designated nursing room/space, but people nurse in the women’s bathroom.  There are chairs there, in the space before the stalls.  This seems to be the space that mothers use for breastfeeding, although the respondent has not done so herself, as she does not nurse babies in synagogue.

    Other Information:

    The website offers no policy about breastfeeding.

    Many women breastfeed in this community.

    General Child Friendliness:

    There are no changing tables.  There is a sign stating that one must park strollers outside.   Kids’ stuff is left in the coat room.

    The attitude toward children in the main service is mixed.  “The rabbi has said that children, and adults, should not talk during services. If a child is making noise and the parent is in the middle of Shemonei Esrei, Rabbi Feiner said one should pause saying Shemonei Esrei and take the child out of the sanctuary so as not to disturb others.”

    I have no information about bottlefeeding in this community.

    Wrap-Up:

    This synagogue received a rating of

    • Lousy but tolerable for whatever reasons- 5

    out of 7, where 1 is the best rating and 7 is the worst.

    Contact Information:

    Rabbi Eytan Feiner  at 718-327-0500 x2

    Rabbi Motti Neuburger at mneuburger@whiteshul.com or 718-327-0500 x9

    Rabbi Zezy Fuld at youth@whiteshul.com
    Synagogue Website: whiteshul.com

     

    Breastfeeding at: Mount Sinai Jewish Center, Manhattan, NY

    Mount Sinai Jewish Center in Manhattan, New York, USA

    Updated Substantially 10/12/15

    Breastfeeding in the Sanctuary:

    It may or may not be permitted, but the atmosphere is such that it is not done, and would likely be very uncomfortable.

    Private Nursing Locations:

    There is a nursing room, called the Mommy and Me Room, although it is unlabeled.  It is found by word of mouth, and is attached to the sanctuary next to the women’s section on the right side when facing forward.   The room contains 2 sofas, a changing table, and is also used to store games for kids.  It is used as a wedding staging area when people get married there, as well.  It is open and accessible.

    There is an additional breastfeeding area set up in the women’s bathroom, which has a rocking chair.   I have conflicting information as to whether this area is a separate room or set up in an empty stall in the bathroom.  (A third voice to resolve the conflict would be a delight.)

    Other Information:

    No information about breastfeeding policy is publicized.  The website does offer links to recordings of the rabbi’s shiurim (religious lectures/classes) about childcare on Shabbat.  Total listening time would be about 2 hours.

    The community as experienced by one respondent seems uncomfortable with public breastfeeding in general, including at Shabbos meals, where they tend to look away from a mother who is nursing.  More information about this aspect of the community would be very welcome!

    General Child Friendliness:

    There are changing tables available in both the men’s and women’s restrooms on the lower level of the shul. as well as in the Mommy and Me Room.  Strollers are generally left inside, or in front of the building.

    The is no place to keep a child’s needed supplies.  However, the synagogue has toys for children to use during services, as well as a Children’s library, maintained on the shelves in the main lobby, which has both children’s siddurim and story books.

    Children are welcomed in the main service, especially toward the end of services, when the Rabbi will give them a treat if parents allow it.  Before that on Shabbat morning, most children go to groups- there is a Tot Shabbat (Ages 0-3) and Minyan Katan (3-6).  Children are more likely to be in the service on Friday nights (when Shabbat comes in early enough for their bedtimes).

    This synagogue owns 10 highchairs for young children to use during community meals in the synagogue.

    Wrap-Up:

    This synagogue received a rating of “Bad, I avoid it if I can- 6” out of 7, where 1 is the best rating and 7 is the worst.

    Contact Information:

    Rabbi Ezra Schwatz at rabbi@mtsinaishul.com

    Yoetzet Halakha Dena Block at yoetzet@mtsinaishul.com

    Synagogue Website: http://www.mtsinaishul.com