Shoreshim FAQ


How can I find information about Shoreshim
In addition to what can be found on our web site information about Shoreshim can be obtained by calling (571) 445-0563. A Shoreshim Board Member will return your call promptly. 

What does "Shoreshim" mean and how would you describe Shoreshim?  
Shoreshim, which is Hebrew for "Roots", is a non-affiliated, lay-led, participatory havurah.  We are an inclusive Jewish community, largely centered in Reston, VA, but with members in neighboring communities. Our members include interfaith families, who bring a broad range of religious beliefs to the Shoreshim community . Shoreshim is a "Shul without walls" - we do not own or intend to own a building - and we do not have the services of a full-time Rabbi. The community succeeds through the active involvement of its members. We see this involvement as key to creating a rich spiritual and learning environment for both children and adults that helps to build community and does not tax a family's financial resources. Thus, members plan and lead a number of religious services, and work with outside resources to assist with select services such as the High Holy Day services, some Shabbat services and other celebrations. Other Shoreshim activities include an innovative Monday Hebrew School, adult education, Torah Study, Tzedakah, a Woman's Group and life-cycle events (baby namings, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, and Shiva). 

What are the grade levels of the Shoreshim School and when do the classes meet? 
 
Passing along a sense of Jewish heritage to the next generation was one of the compelling reasons Shoreshim was founded in 1977 by a small group of early Restonians. Initial school meetings were held in the living rooms of the founders' homes. Today, the Shoreshim School offers grade levels kindergarten through 6, and meets on Monday afternoons. Further information can be found at About our School

How does one become a member of Shoreshim? What are the annual dues?  
Please download the membership form. Current dues are $325 per adult member per year. Tuition for children enrolled in the Shoreshim Hebrew School is $450 per child. Please note that Shoreshim's policy is that only member's children may be enrolled in Shoreshim Religious School.  Special arrangements can be made if a stretched out paymen schedule is requested. 

What are the responsibilities of Shoreshim membership?  
Shoreshim is a participatory community that relies on its members to lead many of our religious services, manage our administrative tasks, and shape program content. Each adult member is required to serve 2 committees. Members are encouraged to volunteer to serve as holiday committee chairpersons, and to volunteer for service on the Shoreshim Board. Members are also invited to participate in other community activities such as Torah Study or music where they can enrich the community with their individual skills and insights. Shoreshim does have a special membership policy for our seniors. 

Where does Shoreshim hold its services?  
Shoreshim High Holy Day services are held in a local church that makes its facility available to Shoreshim. Other holiday services are held in community facilities, members' homes, and other Reston churches. 
 
What is Shoreshim's policy for non-member attendance at High Holy Day Services? 
It is a Shoreshim tradition that our services are always open to the public free of charge. However, we recognize that some non-member participants would like to make a voluntary contribution at the time of the High Holy Days, and so we place self-addressed envelopes with enclosed contribution cards at the back of the sanctuary for their convenience. 

How does Shoreshim handle life-cycle events?  
As a community, Shoreshim extends support to members that are experiencing life-cycle events such as baby namings, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, and mourning. In accordance with Shoreshim's philosophy, these services are highly personalized. For example, Shiva services, planned by the affected family, are regularly held for members suffering the loss of a loved one. Other examples are the diverse and creative approaches our families take to Bar and Bat Mitzvah services. 

How long has Shoreshim been around?  
Shoreshim was founded in 1977, and some founding members are still active members of the Shoreshim community. 

How is Shoreshim governed?  
Shoreshim is governed by an Executive Board whose members are elected each year at the community's Annual Meeting. This meeting is usually held in May or June - Shoreshim's fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30. Board positions include two Co-Presidents, Secretary, Treasurer, Resource Liaison, Facilities Manager, School Liaison, and Webmaster/Member-At-Large. The Board nominates a slate of candidates that is presented to the membership at the Annual Meeting. Nominations can also be made from the floor. 

What is the Shoreshim Retreat?  
Once each year Shoreshim members organize a theme-centered weekend Retreat where Shoreshim members and families gather from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon to dine together, discuss and learn together, play together and get to know one another better. Retreats are held at a location within an easy driving distance of the DC metropolitan area (typically one to one and a half hours away) and involve activities for both adults and children. 

Who plans Shoreshim's religious services?  
Shoreshim members plan the religious services, often with the help of outside professional resources such as Rabbis, Cantors and Judaic scholars.  

A good example is the recent development of new services for the High Holy Days that was undertaken by two knowledgeable community members with the aid of an advanced rabbinical student who has worked with Shoreshim for several years. This effort took place over the course of a year, and new prayer books were printed and available for High Holy Day services in October 2005.  The committees responsible for holiday services are free to use existing services or to develop new services. As Shoreshim is non-affiliated, there are no firm rules limiting the service approach taken by various committees. 

Does Shoreshim offer adult education opportunities?  Shoreshim offers its own adult education opportunities as well as access to adult education opportunities available at other Jewish communities in the Washington Metropolitan area. Within Shoreshim there is an Adult Education Committee that sets an agenda each year in accord with its members' interests. Shoreshim has offered courses by scholars on topics such as Jewish history, ethics, and mourning practices. These scholars have included Shoreshim members and outside resources. Shoreshim also has a Torah Study Group that, over many years, has studied the five books of Moses, the writings of the Jewish Prophets, and more contemporary writings about Judaism and Jewish life. 

How big is Shoreshim?  
Shoreshim's current membership is about 50 families. 

What is Shoreshim's approach to Tzedakah?  
Shoreshim has an active Tzedakah Committee that plans Tzedakah activities (e.g. collections of canned foods and household goods for the Embry Rucker Shelter) and allocates Tzedakah cash resources that are accumulated during the year via contributions from members, guests at Shoreshim services, and cash distributions arising from Shoreshim volunteer activities (e.g., Board membership and volunteer service at The Closet in Herndon, VA). Shoreshim is also affiliated with Reston Interfaith and a Shoreshim member serves on the Reston Interfaith Board. 

Does Shoreshim have a Music Committee?  Shoreshim has a volunteer group called the Kolnudnicks that sings at Kol Nidre services and is available to sing at other Shoreshim events. Given the significant number of talented musicians in Shoreshim's ranks, we always have talented volunteers to help us celebrate. 

Is food served at the various Shabbat services and what are the rules?  
Friday evening Kabbalat Shabbats include a potluck dinner. Shoreshim policy on food to be served at these Shabbats is set by the Shoreshim Board, and is as follows: "Friday night Shabbats will allow both dairy and non-dairy foods, to be presented on separate tables. Non-dairy foods may include chicken and fish, but no pork or pork products (this excludes certain meat pizzas), and no non-kosher seafoods."