Nursing Space Photos: Agudath Israel Congregation

Agudath Israel Congregation has just created a new family lounge, including a private nursing space with a curtain to provide privacy.

The synagogue is working on signs that will indicate both the location of the family lounge and that breastfeeding is welcome in all parts of the synagogue.  I’ll keep you posted with more as their work continues.

nursing room photo Agudath Canada 2016 1

 

[Photo shows a view into the nursing space, with a two-seater sofa with pillow, and cubbies/shelving behind it.  The substantial, white curtain is pulled back to one side.]

 

 

The lounge also has additional couches, and play structures.

nursing room photo Agudath Canada 2016 3 [Photo shows two white couches on each side of a corner.  There is a small piece of art up on the wall.  The wall is a light purple.  The rug has a large cire on it of which the photo shows part.  The circle has the Hebrew alphabet on it.]

 

 

nursing room photo Agudath Canada 2016 2 [Photo shows a purple carpet, windows on the right side, a plastic play structure with a red slide, and behind it, what looks like a play-kitchen.]

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Breastfeeding at: Stanford Minyan, Palo Alto, CA

Stanford Minyan, in Palo Alto, California, USA

Breastfeeding in the Sanctuary:

It is permitted.  “There is no written policy regarding nursing (or essentially anything) but I’ve done it and no one batted an eye.”  However, she notes that “I was deep in the women’s section and was wearing a cover so no skin showed. I would have felt less comfortable if I were more exposed but only because it’s a small minyan and it would make me stand out.”

Private Nursing Locations:

There is a “room across hall from sanctuary”, that is a study lounge, and is usually private.  “Quirks include that anyone can technically walk in (but this rarely happens in practice and if so, you can sit/nurse so you see them before they see you).”  It is labeled “Lounge”, and contains “2 big comfortable couches and pillows.”  It is accessible on Shabbat.

Other Information:

The website offers no policy about breastfeeding.

The community is generally “Pro-breastfeeding. I know due to private discussions I’ve had about it with community members. That said, there are so few mothers of young children/babies that folks are more pro-breastfeeding in theory than in practice. Most members of the community are students (younger) and baby boomers (older).”

General Child Friendliness:

There are no changing tables available.  “We sometimes pull a table into the women’s or men’s bathroom downstairs to change diapers. Or just change them on the floor/couches.”  People leave strollers “downstairs near kiddush.”  Kids’ stuff s left wherever is convenient, and “Pumped milk could be stored in the small mini-fridge downstairs.”

The attitude toward children in the main service is “Welcoming. 1-2 toddlers and kids run around in main service and people always wave at them/engage them. When kids are very loud, parents tend to take them out to the hallway.”

Bottlefeeding is also accepted as “Fine.” in this community.  People are generally indifferent to 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 Daniel Silverstein

Contact via the website: http://stanfordminyan.org/contactus.html

Synagogue Website: http://stanfordminyan.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: קהילת גוננים, Jeusalem, Israel

קהילת גוננים in Jerusalem, Israel

Nursing in the Sanctuary:

Breastfeeding is permitted in the service by unwritten policy (though hardly practiced), and is comfortable if the mother uses a cover.

Private Nursing Locations:

There used to be a private nursing location that consisted of “a couple chairs behind a mechitza” near the sanctuary.   Longtime members will know where it was.  It hasn’t been set up lately, but the respondent intends to write to the set-up committee to have them start putting it up again.

Other Information:

No information is publicized about the synagogue policy on breastfeeding.

“Most women nurse with a cover outside the sanctuary,” but “I once nursed a 2 year old at a Tu Bishvat shul event (with no cover), and a women from the shul committee came over later and said she noticed me nursing my son – kol hakavod! ”

General Child Friendliness:

There is  no changing table.  Strollers are parked near the sanctuary, near where the nursing location is, when it is set up.  There is no place for kids’ supplies.

“Children are very much part of the shul (and there’s a separate children’s service. ”

“There are a lot of women who bottle feed [in this community], it’s considered normal. ”

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:

Vaad.kehilatgonenim@gmail.com

 

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/gonnenim/?fref=ts

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: 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/

 

 

Reviews of Synagogue Breastfeeding Arrangements