Category Archives: Reconstructionist Synagogue

Breastfeeding at: West End Synagogue, Manhattan, NY

West End Synagogue in Manhattan, New York, USA

Breastfeeding in the Sanctuary:

It is permitted.  “Because I’ve nursed in the middle of services and no one has looked twice at me… I can’t ever imagine it even coming up as an issue. For [the rabbi] or the congregation for that matter.”  It is comfortable to do.

Nursing Locations:

There is a no separate space for breastfeeding privately.

A Note About Synagogue Layout:

This congregation is located in a former NYC library, so there is an upstairs and a lobby, but really only those two major spaces. Nursing is welcome in both places, during services in the sanctuary portion and at other holiday events downstairs in the former basement / congregation space. They also rent out a church for high holidays and nursing is fine there too, and comfortable even with the larger holiday crowds.  

Other Information:

The majority of this congregation is 60 and over.  However, all of the older generation enjoys the babies especially and is very supportive of all types of parenting.

There is no information made public about breastfeeding policy.

General  Child Friendliness:

There are changing tables in a gender-neutral bathroom. There is space for stroller parking in the lobby space There is space for children’s supplies as well in the coat room.  Children are  welcome in the main service, and there are monthly “intergenerational” Friday night services and musical Saturday morning services that are aimed a bit more at kids.  However, kids are welcome at all services, although true screaming should be removed from the sanctuary.

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

Rabbi Marc Margolius at rabbi@westendsynagogue.org

Synagogue website: http://westendsynagogue.org/

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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/