Category Archives: Washington D.C.

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/

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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: 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

Breastfeeding at: Tiferet Israel, Washington D.C.

Tiferet Israel in Washington D.C., USA

Updated 6/30/15

Breastfeeding in the Sanctuary:

It is permitted.  Opinions about how advisable it is vary.  One person said that “Clergy and seemingly all congregants are comfortable with nursing taking place in the sanctuary. The synagogue goes to great lengths to accommodate participants’ needs, including the needs of nursing mothers.”  Another said “it is generally a relaxed kahal [but] I wouldn’t” breastfeed in the sanctuary.

Private Nursing Locations:

Private breastfeeding can be done in the Nursing Room, located behind the sanctuary, or the Bridal Room, which is  also located behind sanctuary, beside the play room and the balcony stairs, but is not labeled.  Many congregants know where it is, but some do not. The nursing room is sometimes open, sometimes locked.  However, when open it has often been taken over by older kids using it as a space to lounge.  Sometimes the lights are not on.  People sometimes come in, although the door is closed.  It contains a couch and a comfortable rocking chair.

The bridal room is across an open foyer from the children’s play room, which itself is a reasonable nursing room alternative to the bridal room (particularly for a parent with other small children). The play room contains two rocking chairs and has sound pumped in from sanctuary.  “There are lots of places around the building to nurse: often-empty classrooms upstairs, the children’s playroom just outside the back of the sanctuary, the sometimes-empty small chapel, spaces downstairs. The rabbi has also offered me his office. One woman nurses on a folding chair in the lobby in the back of the sanctuary.”

Other Information:

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

Congregational attitudes are mostly very welcoming to breastfeeding in any modest manner, including not using a cover.  However, “there are a few cranky members of the kahal when it comes to kids and/or what they perceive as inappropriate behavior, so I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if someone were to shoot a nursing mom a questioning or unwelcoming look, especially if she was nursing without a cover”.

General Child Friendliness:

There are changing tables in both the women’s and the men’s bathrooms, as well as in a family/children’s bathroom.  Strollers are generally parked against the walls in the main hallway as well as “the space outside the rabbi emeritus’ office/in front of the elevator, and sometimes in the summer, in the coat closet.”. There is a ramp to enter the building.  There is no particular space for children’s supplies.

An excessively disruptive child in the sanctuary might be asked to leave, but this seems quite unusual, and within normal childhood noise expectations, children are welcome in the sanctuary. On multiple occasions congregants have approached guests with small children, in order to tell the guests about the playroom and then emphasize that their children are also entirely welcome to stay in the sanctuary. The website stresses this welcoming attitude to children as well.  Toddlers frequently travel up and down the aisles with a parent following.  “As long as the kids are being quiet and not running around like crazy people no one seems to mind if they use the front of the sanctuary between the first row of seats and the bimah as a space to play. The same is mostly true of the space in the back of the sanctuary.”

However, a few people do  react badly to kid noise and movement, which can be stressful for parents.  The community lacks a set policy about expectations around kids’ in shul.

There are regular age-appropriate services/activities for all children from eighteen months.

Wrap-Up:

This synagogue received ratings of

  • “Great, could barely be better- 1”
  • “Alright, it works pretty well- 3”

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

Contact Information:

Rabbi Ethan Seidel at TIRabbi@Tifereth-Israel.org or eseidel@tifereth-israel.org

Synagogue Website: http://www.tifereth-israel.org/

Breastfeeding at Minyan Segulah, Washington DC/Silver Spring MD/Takoma Park MD

Minyan Segulah in Washington DC/Silver Spring Maryland/Takoma Park Maryland, USA

Breastfeeding in the Sanctuary:

It is permitted, but “There are no written policies, so breastfeeding friendliness is not likely to be intuitive to a visitor. There is nothing problematic about breastfeeding in the sanctuary.”  “There are many young families and babies, and breastfeeding is quite common.”  One should note that “for breastfeeding in the sanctuary, be aware that people tend to sit closer together than in many synagogue environments. There isn’t always an unobtrusive corner for those who would prefer to remain unnoticed.”

Private Nursing Locations:

There is no designated private nursing location.  Many nursing mothers do so in the children’s play area.  More details in the next section.

Other Information:

There is no information about breastfeeding policy made public.

“As is the nature for independent minyanim without a 100% permanent space, the physical details of the sanctuary change frequently. Usually, there is a children’s play area either adjacent to the prayer space or else in the same room.  Most nursing moms are in the kid space, either for more privacy, greater freedom of movement, or because of the needs of an older child.”  “Most breastfeeding moms are straightforward and very casual about nursing. Nursing covers, blankets, etc., are a personal choice.”

“Segulah usually meets at Tifereth Israel in DC, which is a nursing-friendly synagogue. The minyan also meets at congregants’ homes, as well as church basements, The Washington Ethical Society and other locations at various times.  Different facilities have vastly different physical realities.”

Genera Child Friendliness:

Changing table access depends on the space being used.   Most of the time, there are changing tables available in both the men’s and women’s bathrooms.  All the spaces have room for strollers and space for children’s needed supplies.

“Children are welcome in the sanctuary, and/but encouraged to play in the children’s area with Segulah-provided toys and book. (Please note that the vast majority of children are under 5.) Noise is discouraged in particular during the Torah reading, though at the beginning of the Torah service all children are welcome to approach the ark to take out a stuffed Torah.”

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:

Leadership at Segulahminyan@gmail.com

Minyan website: http://segulahminyan.org/