Category Archives: Massachusetts

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

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 Minyan Tehillah, Cambridge, MA

    Minyan Tehillah in Cambridge, Massachussetts, USA

    Updated 8/26/15- additional rating, experiences, general information, and bottle-feeding information

    Breastfeeding in the Sanctuary:

    It is informally permitted and welcome, although there is no formal policy.  “Women routinely nurse in the women’s section during davening”.  “I didn’t nurse my now-teenagers there because there weren’t a lot of babies, but by the time I had my now-elementary-school-kid there were lots of moms nursing. Some used covers, but I never did. I didn’t nurse while leading or laining, but some mothers even do that.”

    Private Nursing Locations:

    There is no designated private space for nursing, but “some moms use the babysitting space if they aren’t comfortable nursing in the sanctuary”.    However, “All the chairs are sized for 3-4 year olds. It is full of 20+ kids and 5+ adults at all times”.  The babysitting room is upstairs.  You find t by asking around/word of mouth.  Other options include the hallway or outside on a bench.  The shul has very limited options for space.

    Other Information:

    There is no information or policy about breastfeeding publicized by this community.

    Nursing is welcomed by this community, “The community is very welcoming of breastfeeding wherever and whenever”.  They see having no nursing room as a message that breastfeeding should be free and comfortable anywhere- a designated space might suggest that other spaces were not open for nursing as well.  “I felt fine about it, but I know there are murmurs among other people. We don’t have an official policy and that concerns me even though I no longer have a nursling.”

    Genera Child Friendliness:

    There are changing tables in both the women’s and the men’s bathrooms.  Strollers are either parked outside or folded umbrella strollers may be put in the hallway.  There is very limited space for children’s stuff- some ” toddlers go to preschool at the shul building so they have cubby space – otherwise, no [space]. This is a big problem for families of all ages.”.

    In the main service is generally welcoming and tolerant of kids and their noise.  “Very child-friendly. Kids lead end of davening; kids get lollipops; kids run from parent to parent as needed. Mostly the kids are not noisy, however.”

    The attitude toward bottle-feeding here is “Pretty negative, unless it’s obviously EBM [expresse breast milk] fed by non-nursing care-giver.”  “I think almost every mom nurses. Sometimes dads bring babies to shul with a bottle. Snacks for kids in general are permitted even in the sanctuary”.

    Wrap-Up:

    This synagogue received ratings of

      • Great, could barely be better- 1
      • Good, could make small improvements- 2

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

    Contact Information:

    Leadership at Minyantehillah@minyantehillah.org

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

     

    Breastfeeding at: Temple Isaiah, Lexington, MA, USA

    Temple Isaiah in Lexington, Massachussetts, USA

    Breastfeeding in the Sanctuary:

    It is permitted.  “I know it’s permitted because I have nursed my son on numerous occasions, and nobody has ever said I can’t. I nurse without a cover… it seemed like a total non-event.”  

    Private Nursing Locations:

    There is no designated nursing room/space, but you can use a classroom or office. They are, of course, “not labelled, but you can ask one of the rabbis.  These rooms are on the main floor.

    Other Information:

    The website offers no policy about breastfeeding.

    The community is supportive and positive about breastfeeding- it is basically a non-event, no one even bats an eye.

    General Child Friendliness:

    There are changing tables available in the women’s bathroom, the men’s bathrooms, the family/children’s bathroom, and the gender neutral bathroom.   There is space for strollers.

    I have no information about space/places for children’s supplies, attitudes toward babies or children in the main service, or attitudes toward bottle-feeding.  If you do, please tell us- either in a comment or (even better), by filling out a questionnaire:  https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1skGeYXiz85Ej5oWCL05uv5Ykf9uNvG08vfrx2–AHLM/viewform

    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 Howard Jaffe at rabbijaffe@templeisaiah.net

    Rabbi Jill Perlman at rabbiperlman@templeisaiah.net

    Cantor Lisa Doob at cantor@templeisaiah.net

    Synagogue Website: http://www.templeisaiah.net/

    Breastfeeding at: Young Israel, Sharon, MA

    Young Israel, in Sharon, Massachusetts, USA

    Breastfeeding in the Sanctuary:

    It may or may not be permitted, but “I don’t know that anyone has the guts to try it – I think they probably assume it’s not allowed or that it would\, at best, be frowned upon.”.

    Private Nursing Locations:

    There is no designated nursing room/space, but “I think if you ask you can use the school director’s office – but I’m not sure” if that is a general offer, or one extended particularly to this particular mother.

    “Most moms nurse in the babysitting room – this summer when that area was under construction there was nowhere for them to go. When someone asked the shul president about it, he just didn’t understand the question.”  That space is not, however, wonderfully set up for nursing- all the chairs are sized for kids, not adults.

    “There is also a beit midrash area where women seem to assume that if there are men learning or davening in there, it would not be welcomed for women to breastfeed. I don’t know if anyone has ever tried it.”

    Other Information:

    The website offers no policy about breastfeeding.

    The community does not welcome or support breastfeeding.

    General Child Friendliness:

    There are changing tables available in the family/children’s bathroom.  Strollers stay outside.  Kids’ stuff can be left in the babysitting room.

    The attitude toward children in the main service is pretty intolerant.  “I got asked to leave once because my 2-year old made a couple peeps. That kind of chutzpah is not necessarily the norm, but then again, I do not feel comfortable having my kids in the main service at all. Kids are asked to leave when the rabbi speaks, and are generally not welcomed.”

    Bottle feeding should not be done in the sanctuary.  I have no information about community reactions to it.

    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 Meir Sendor (through summer 2016)

    This synagogue is currently beginning a rabbi search.

    info@yisharon.org

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

    Breastfeeding at: Kerem Shalom, Concord, MA

    Kerem Shalom in Concord, Massachussetts, USA

    Breastfeeding in the Sanctuary:

    It nay or may not be formally permitted, but it is done.  “I just did it. No one ever said a thing. Many smiled. I don’t know of a policy.”

    Private Nursing Locations:

    There is no nursing room, “but there are comfy couches and chairs in the lobby, that can be rearranged, should one want a bit of privacy.”  There are also rooms one could use it you wanted a separate space, but you would have to ask.

    “All we could use is a baby room, not for breastfeeding, just for parents and babies to have a break. Mostly, the comfy lobby gets used for that.”

    Other Information:

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

    Congregational attitudes are comfortable with nursing, ” Most women breastfeed at least for a while. No one fusses.”  Most women will latch the baby on, then continue with what they were doing.

    General Child Friendliness:

    There are changing tables in the women’s bathrooms and the men’s bathrooms. There is no particular space for stroller paring or for children’s supplies, but there is plenty of room for them.

    Children are expected and very welcome in the main service.  “The rabbis think that if the kids aren’t happy there, they won’t keep coming. The rabbi always does stuff to encourage participation. ” “We have always had toddlers dancing in the aisles. Our new rabbi is deaf and has little kids, who happily dance and sing in their seats. We expect there to be children and for the children to be kids. ”

    Special Note: This synagogue is a nut-free area.  A link t their alergen policy can be found here: http://keremshalom.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/VariousPDFs/Food&AllergyPolicy.pdf

    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 the worst.

    Contact Information:

    Rabbi Darby Leigh at RabbiDarby@KeremShalom.org

    Synagogue Website: http://keremshalom.org/

     

    Breastfeeding at: Havurat Shalom, Somerville, MA

    Havurat Shalom in Somerville, MA

    Breastfeeding in the Sanctuary:

    It is permitted.  One mother reports that she was told to nurse wherever she wants.

    Nursing Locations:

    Nursing more privately can be accommodated in the playroom/childcare room.  It is unlabeled, on the second floor.  The second floor is not wheelchair accessible.  People will tell you where the room is.  It contains several sofas and a futon.

    Other Breastfeeding Experiences:

    This community is very comfortable with and welcoming to breastfeeding, and there are many breastfeeding parents in the community.

    There is no information/signage visible about breastfeeding policies either in the synagogue or its website or bulletin.

    General  Child Friendliness:

    There are changing tables in a gender-neutral bathroom.  Strollers are generally parked on the back porch.  There is space for children’s supplies as well.  The attitude in services is very tolerant of children.

    Summary:

    This synagogue received a  general rating of: “Great, could barely be better- 1” out of 7, where 1 was the best rating and 7 was the worst.

    Contact Information:

    info@thehav.org

    617-623-3376

    Website: http://thehav.org/