Category Archives: Southeast USA

Breastfeeding at: Adas Israel, Washington, DC

Adas Israel, in Washington, DC, USA

Breastfeeding in the Sanctuary:

It is permitted.  “I’ve done it and women do it every week. Not sure about a written policy but the Rabbis have spoken extensively about it”.  It is generally comfortable and accepted.

Private Nursing Locations:

The private nursing space is the bridal room, which is labeled as the “Bride’s room”.  It is located on the “Main floor, near the Beit Midrash and one of the sanctuaries”.  It’s usually unlocked during services, but sometimes you need to ask a staff member to unlock it.  Inside the room there’s also a bathroom with it’s own door and lock. The room is stocked with a boppy and changing pad as well.

There are some accessibility limitations- contact the synagogue if you know you have particular needs, since I don’t have particulars as to whether the only issue is that it is sometimes locked, or if there are other limitations.

Other Information:

The website offers no policy about breastfeeding.

The community is generally “Very pro breastfeeding, wherever and whenever. I’ve seen clergy spouses nursing in the sanctuary without a cover. I’ve done it myself.”

The connection to get this review came from a piece in Kveller  (Read it by clicking here ) where the author says of Adas Israel: ”

our congregation—Adas Israel, in Washington, DC—is about the most kid-friendly place I have ever been.

Walk into our main sanctuary on any given Saturday and amidst the chanting and praying and shuffling of pages, you’ll hear a symphony of children’s voices. Laughing, singing, crying, asking questions—doing all the things kids do. Look around and you’ll see kids on the bimah, kids in the pews with their families, kids walking the aisles, mamas nursing babies, papas clutching kids under a tallis as they rock rhythmically back and forth. In one service, you’ll even find a play area for kids off to the side of the room.”

General Child Friendliness:

There are changing tables available in the Women’s bathrooms, Men’s bathrooms, Family/children’s bathroom, and the Nursing Room.  People leave strollers in the coat room.  There is space for kids’ stuff, including a fridge for pumped milk.

“Children [are] encouraged in all services and welcomed onto the bimah throughout”.

There is a Tot Shabbat service at 11am for children 5 and under.

Bottlefeeding is also accepted here; the community is “generally positive on feeding babies however they need to be fed”.

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:

Main contact: adasoffice@adasisrael.org

Senior Rabbi Gil Steinlauf at Rabbi.Steinlauf@adasisrael.org

Cantor Arianne Brown at Cantor.Brown@adasisrael.org

Rabbi Aaron Alexander at Rabbi.Alexander@adasisrael.org

Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt at Rabbi.Holtzblatt@adasisrael.org

Rabbi Kerrith Rosenbaum at Rabbi.Rosenbaum@adasisrael.org

Synagogue Website: http://adasisrael.org/

Breastfeeding at: The Kehilla, Atlanta, GA, USA

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.

Other Information:

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. ”

Wrap-Up:

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.

Contact Information:

Rabbi Karmi Ingber (via the website) at http://www.thekehilla.org/contact/rabbi/Synagogue

Website: http://www.thekehilla.org/

Breastfeeding at: Beth Israel, Owings Mills, MD

Beth Israel in Owings Mills, Maryland, USA

Breastfeeding in the Sanctuary:

It may or may not be permitted, but “I would expect at least a nursing cover would be expected.”

Private Nursing Locations:

There is a nursing location, in the bridal room.  The sign says “Bridal Suite”.  It is on the main floor, “just steps from the Sanctuary and Social Hall”.  It is accessible, and one finds it by word of mouth.  The room contains “Futon and 2 armed chairs with plenty of pillows, a vanity large enough for changing baby, [and a] private bathroom attached. There is talk of a remodel and an addition of a sign signifying that it’s a nursing space.”

Other Information:

The website offers no policy about breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding is “accepted as a child rearing technique, but it has remained pretty much behind doors due to personal comfort level. If my wife were to nurse our son, it would be with a cover.” in this community.

This synagogue also streams Shabbat morning services on its website.

General Child Friendliness:

There are changing tables available in the women’s bathroom,the men’s bathrooms, and the nursing room/bridal suite.  There is no designated space for strollers, but the synagogue is large enough that there is plenty of space for strollers.  There is space for kids’ stuff,  but no refrigerator for pumped milk.

Children in the main service are “Generally accepted, but there is also a segregated quiet room, where there are floor to ceiling windows on one side and the services in pumped in via speakers.”

Bottle feeding is also “accepted” in this community.

Wrap-Up:

This synagogue received a rating of

  • Good, could make small improvements- 2

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

Contact Information:

Rabbi Jay R. Goldstein at Rebjay@aol.com

Synagogue Website: http://www.bethisrael-om.org/

Breastfeeding at: Ohev Shalom National Synagogue, Washington, DC, USA

Ohev Shalom National Synagogue, in Washington, DC, USA

Updated:New Private Nursing Location, rating, parental experiences

Breastfeeding in the Sanctuary:

It may or may not be permitted, but “I wouldn’t want to there”. “It’s not welcomed, and is likely frowned upon.”

Private Nursing Locations:
Update: “It’s a closed off area behind the sanctuary. There are several comfy chairs and benches. An email was sent out to the congregation when it was announced.” It “s much bigger and much more available than the space they used to have, but it is not exactly labelled and terribly advertised.”

(Previously: “There used to be a nursing room, but that was transformed to the Maharat’s office and now there is not a good place.”)

Other Information:

The website offers no policy about breastfeeding.

“I’ve definitely nursed my child in the hall where they serve lunch. I’ve done it with a cover, and without, but while she was in a soft carrier and little to nothing showed.”

“I think that they are working to make changes and make it a more welcoming space. As people make their needs known, they have been responding.”

General Child Friendliness:

There is a changing table available in the hall/stair area outside of the women’s bathroom.  People leave strollers in the social hall or “a back entrance to the synagogue that leads right to the area where communal kiddushes/lunches are held.”.  There is space for kids’ stuff.

The attitude toward children in the main service is described as welcoming by one parent, while another feels that children in the main service “Should be seen and not heard. They offer programming for children of various ages, and babies are welcome there as well.”.

Please share information about Bottlefeeding in this community!

Wrap-Up:

This synagogue received ratings of

  • Horrid, I’ll never go back with a breastfeeding baby ever- 7
  • Good, could make small improvements- 2

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

Contact Information:

Rabbi Shmuel Hertzfeld at RabbiShmuel@ostns.org

Maharat Ruth Balinsky Friedman at MaharatRuth@ostns.org

Synagogue Website: http://ostt.org/

Breastfeeding at: Beth Shalom of Potomac, Potomac, MD

Beth Shalom of Potomac, in Potomac, Maryland, USA

Breastfeeding in the Sanctuary:

It is not permitted- it doesn’t feel like an acceptable thing to do there.

Private Nursing Locations:

Private nursing can be done in the Bridal Room, which is on the main floor, near the sanctuary.  It has a sign that says “Bridal Room”.  The room is kept locked with a code lock.  Anyone with a baby can tell you where it is and what the code is to get in.  The room has both chairs and couches.

Other Information:

The website offers no policy about breastfeeding.

Outside of services, it is fine to breastfeed in this community, although it is not discussed.  The mother filling out this survey found it difficult, but because her child was distracted, not because of community behavior.

General Child Friendliness:

There are changing tables available in the women’s bathrooms.  There is stroller parking in the entrance area to one side of the main doors, and children’s stuff is stored in their strollers.

The attitude toward children in the main service is “good, very welcoming”.  (There are 4 different services on most Shabbatot here, and they could be different.  Although I was not a parent at the time, children seemed welcome and comfortable in all 4.)

Bottle feeding is fine to do 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 Nissan Antine at rabbiantine@bethsholom.org

Rabbi Tessler (mostly emeritus) at rebjoel@bethsholom.org

Synagogue Website: https://bethsholom.org/

Breastfeeding at: Tikkun Leil Shabbat, Washington, DC, USA

Tikkun Leil Shabbat, in Washington, DC, USA

Breastfeeding in the Sanctuary:

It is permitted.  There is “no written policy. I nurse uncovered in during services every time I go, and no one has said a word to me. Several moms have even thanked me for making them feel more comfortable.   I was one of the first people in the community to have a baby – 4.5 years ago, and I started bringing my little one and nursing (without a cover) when she was about 6 weeks old. Lots of mothers who have had babies after me bring their babies to services and nurse – most use covers but not all.”

Private Nursing Locations:

There is no designated nursing room/space, but “there’s a classroom where some of the kids play when they get bored or disruptive during services and some moms nurse there.”  It is between the sanctuary and the bathrooms.  There s no sign or label.  “No one tells you to go there because nursing is welcomed in the sanctuary, but people find it by following the sounds of the older small children – or just following their older small children who magically find the other kids.”  It is accessible on Shabbat.

Other Information:

The website offers no information about breastfeeding.

The community is supportive and positive about breastfeeding, including the breastfeeding of toddlers.  “About 4 years ago, I once gave community announcement while nursing my 6ish month old. No one said a word to me about it. I suspect some people were uncomfortable, but the fact that I did that has opened the way for all of the other mothers in the community to nurse in the kahal when and how they want or need to.”

General Child Friendliness:

There are no changing tables.  There is no real space for strollers but people put them near the coats.  There s space for children’s supplies, including a fridge for pumped milk.

The attitude toward children in the main service is very supportive.

This community is also very supportive and positive toward bottle feeding.

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:

tikkunleilshabbat@yahoo.com

Synagogue Website: http://tikkunleilshabbat.blogspot.com/

Breastfeeding at: The DC Minyan, Washington DC

The DC Minyan, in Washington DC, USA

Breastfeeding in the Sanctuary:

It is unclear whether it is permitted because “everyone who nurses seems to do so in the lobby”.

Private Nursing Locations:

There is no designated nursing room/space, but private nursing can be done in the preschool classrooms, upstairs.

The lobby seems to be the popular choice though.  (Apparently Very popular, as this is a community with a lot of babies and  lot of breastfeeding.)  The lobby has a number of couches and comfortable chairs.  Most people use nursing covers.

Other Information:

The website offers no policy about breastfeeding.

The community is supportive and positive about breastfeeding in general.

General Child Friendliness:

There are changing tables available in the women’s bathroom and the men’s bathrooms.  People leave strollers in the lobby, were they take up quite a bit of the space.  There is room for kids’ supplies.

People would like children and babies in the main service to be quieter than they are, as there are “many, many, many young children and babies”.  There are also several age groupings for children’s services.

Bottlefeeding is also welcomed and comfortable at this minyan.

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:

dc@dcminyan.org

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