About Us

Our History

We are a Reform congregation located in Brattleboro, Vermont. In Hebrew, “Shir Heharim” means Song of the Mountains, symbolic of our commitment to practice and celebrate Judaism with creativity.

Who are we? We are newly-weds and empty-nesters, toddlers and elders, doubters and the devout. We are teachers and students. We are the non-Jewish partners and the newcomers to Judaism; we’re those revisiting the comfort of our childhood rituals and those searching for something that might have been missing since then.

We welcome our guests and celebrate our simchas, we visit our sick and we mourn with our bereaved, we stand with the State of Israel and we care for our planet. We are more than a synagogue, we’re a community.

Brattleboro Area Jewish Community…

Welcome home.

More than 50 years ago, a group of women in the Brattleboro area began to meet for Jewish Study. They organized holiday celebrations and social gatherings for the few Jewish families in the area. The Jewish presence grew and formalized.

 

In 2001 BAJC found the perfect property for the home we needed for religious observance, education, social & cultural events – a place for all generations, now and in the future.

In 2007 we renovated the farmhouse on the property to use as a synagogue and school. It is wonderful to have an active tangible focus for being Jewish here in the “rural Diaspora” of southern Vermont. Our space both indoors and out continues to grow and thrive more each year. Be a part of our history…come grow with us.

 

Our Mission Statement

 

Our mission is to provide a context and structure for people to be Jewish together in a rural environment. This community fosters Jewish pride and identity by participating together in religious, spiritual, educational, social and cultural experiences. We welcome anyone interested in participating and learning.

 

Membership

 

Do not separate yourself

from the community…

—Hillel, Jewish sage,

first century B.C.E.

 

 

 

BAJC is a place for us all to call home and to celebrate the joys of Jewish life together with our families and friends.

If you value having a synagogue and congregation available in moments of joy and in times of need, please consider supporting BAJC with your membership. We have adopted a “no dues” policy that asks people to give from their hearts to support our congregation, so we can provide spiritual leadership and a Jewish home, Shabbat and holiday services, Hebrew School, cultural events, social events, holiday observances, Yizkor services, a cemetery, a weekly message, a monthly newsletter, a website, workshops, lectures and more!

At BAJC, everyone contributes to the synagogue’s vitality. We ask members to contribute what they can, no questions asked! To find out more about how you can become a part of our community, please contact us at 802-257-1959 or email info@bajcvermont.org, or click on our Membership Information form and pledge form, below.

Membership Form

Pledge Form

 

BAJC Cemetery

 

Brattleboro Area Jewish Community, Congregation Shir Heharim is honored to provide a place of respect for your loved ones, and a place of solace for your family.

For information about the BAJC cemetery, eternal resting place of Saul Bellow, please use the contact information at the bottom of this page…

 

 

 

The Last Life Cycle Event

The goal of the BAJC Cemetery Committee is to see that you and your family have a beautifully-maintained cemetery and that each family is treated with care, respect, courtesy, and sensitivity. We want you to know what we do and to be aware of some concerns that arise when we work with families. Here are some questions for you to consider:

 

1. Is the deceased Jewish? In the BAJC cemetery one area is designated as interfaith and one as traditional Jewish. Jewish people can be buried in the interfaith section, but non-Jews can’t be buried in the traditional Jewish section. Burial of cremated remains will be in the interfaith section. We allow family plots in both sections; before you choose or reserve a family plot, make sure you understand what this entails.

 

2, Are you aware of costs? Each plot itself ranges from $500 for members and members of their immediate family, $1000 for extended family and $2000 for non-members. There are also expenses for the casket, head and/or footstone, digging the grave and funeral home services to be met by the family. For non-members, there is a fee for rabbinic services.

 

3. If you have out-of-town family, are they aware of your wishes to be buried here? Will they know whom to call?

 

4. Did you know that our community has an active Chevra Kadisha? This is a group of lay people trained in the ancient rights of traditional Jewish preparation for burial. For more information, please contact Julie Strothman Julie@bajcvermont.org

 

5. Do you need more information about Jewish traditions and customs? Please don’t hesitate to ask our spiritual leader, Cantor Kate Judd (802-380-1677) or anyone on our committee (listed below). Often people don’t know much about traditions related to death and dying until, sadly, they are about to lose a loved one. Don’t put off having candid conversations with your family about this, the last life cycle event. Don’t leave them guessing about what you want them to do. Don’t leave them with the burden of thinking about difficult details and wondering if they are making the right decisions.

 

6. Are you interested in purchasing plots? Contact Norma (802-490-2310), Deb (802- -275-6124), or Carol (802-258-17230 in that order.

 

We are very happy to answer any questions you may have about our cemetery. If you have questions of a theological nature, or queries about Jewish custom and tradition, we ask you to speak directly to our spiritual leader, Cantor Kate Judd (802-380-1677).

 

Cemetery Rules and Regulations, November 2016