Lubavitch of Iowa (Chabad), in Des Moines, Iowa, USA
Breastfeeding in the Sanctuary:
It is permitted.
“The Chabad shul is located in the basement of the rabbi’s home. The family keeps their home open to everyone who comes to pray. They have invited me into the living room upstairs to nurse, but they are equally open to nursing in the shul itself. The shul is located in the basement, with an entrance through the garage on the same level. The shul has tables and chairs in both the women’s and men’s spaces, and the women’s side also has couches. ”
Private Nursing Locations:
There is no designated or private nursing room/space, but “The shul is in the Chabad family’s home. While there isn’t a dedicated room, there is almost always a space where privacy can be found. The rebbitzen can direct you to a semi-private space.”
The website offers no policy about breastfeeding.
“Everyone is very welcoming of breastfeeding.” “I have breastfed many times in the Chabad home. The family welcomes visitors anytime on Shabbat, and there are often people over until late in the afternoon. Since my child refuses to eat when under a cover, I recently hinted to the rebbitzen, while everyone sat in the living room, that I have no problem nursing uncovered even with the rabbi and 2 of their sons present. To block the men’s view while I nursed, I draped my jacket over my opposite shoulder, and she helped me by holding up the other end.”
It is important to know that the community does not have an eruv. Therefore, it is almost impossible to bring young children to shul on Shabbat if you are traditionally observant of halakha. (However, there are some work-arounds, if you need- I know rabbinic families who hire a non-Jew to push their stroller to and from synagogue in these situations. If this is a need or concern for you, discussing with your rabbi may provide some options, and is what I would recommend. If you don’t have a rabbi with whom to discuss, please contact me.)
General Child Friendliness:
There are no changing tables available. “Since this is a family home, they’re open to you laying a changing pad anywhere you’d like.” “Strollers can be left in the garage or in the basement.” There is space for kids’ toys and supplies, including a refrigerator available for pumped milk.
“Children are welcome in the service. Parents usually ask their children to be quiet during davening [prayers], but there is a space they can play just outside the doors. Books are available, and there are toys that children are welcome to play with upstairs.”
Bottlefeeding is equally accepted in this community. “I chose to bottle feed my then 4 week old on Simchat Torah because the crowd was too large to afford much privacy. Everyone was equally accepting, but I was met with a curious look from one person who knows that I breastfeed.”
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.
Rabbi Yossi Jacobson at email@example.com
Synagogue Website: http://www.jewishiowa.com/