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Welcome To Shaarei Tefillah!

We are a Modern Orthodox synagogue located in beautiful Newton Centre, Massachusetts, in the greater Boston area. Our active and energetic shul aspires to provide an inclusive, friendly, and participatory atmosphere conducive to personal religious growth through Tefillah, Torah study, Chesed, Tzedek, Ahavat Yisrael, and building a supportive community of values and meaning. As our Sages taught us so long ago: The world stands on three things: Torah, Avodah, uGemilut Chasadim. At Shaarei, we too stand on — and just as importantly, we stand for — these three foundational pillars.

Rabbi Benjamin J. Samuels

Shaarei's Current Covid-19 Protocols:

  • Chevre,

    The beginning of the Summer held great promise for scaling up our “normalization” process at Shaarei. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we moved to a mask-optional policy outdoors and indoors for vaccinated individuals, and later allowed children under 12 years of age to go unmasked outdoors. We reinstituted weekly kiddush and have enjoyed several community lifecycle celebrations almost as in “days of old.” 

    The Delta Variant
    The Delta variant, however, has recently elevated the level of public health risk. We are still learning about this highly contagious variant as there is as of yet not sufficient data, and the data we have is undetermined. At the same time, the public health and medical community from Boston to Washington to Israel have expressed serious concern about the Delta variant based on transmission rates especially among those unvaccinated, and “breakthrough” cases even among those already vaccinated including serious illness. 

    Middlesex County Upgraded to Substantial Transmission Risk
    At this time, the CDC has designated 12 of the 14 Counties in Massachusetts as experiencing high or substantial COVID-19 transmission. Middlesex County, which includes Newton, is currently experiencing substantial COVID-19 transmission, defined by the CDC as 50 cases per 100,000 people in a seven-day period. Click Here
    . The current CDC Advisory reads: “To maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others, wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.” Click Here.

    A Changing, Frustrating, & Dissapointing COVID19 Situation
    In light of the changing situation, our esteemed Medical Advisory Panel met this week and provided us with new recommendations to best support the public health and safety of our community. It is important to state that likely all of us - from our medical professionals to our rabbinical and lay leadership to our membership - feel frustrated, disappointed, and emotionally conflicted about having to return to precautionary COVID19 protocols. Please know that you are not alone in these legitimate feelings. The situation is rapidly changing, and we expect to update the Congregation further as we get closer to Rosh Hashanah.

    New Policies & Protocols
    For now, effective this Shabbat (8.6.21), in light of the changing COVID19 situation, our new Shul policies are as follows:

    Shaarei Indoors

    • Masks properly fitted over the nose and mouth are REQUIRED for ALL participants. 
    • Participants should practice social distancing (6 feet+).
    • The Ba’al Koreh will take all the aliyot.


    Shaarei Outdoors

    • Masks are recommended.
    • Participants should practice social distancing (3 feet+).
    • The Ba’al Koreh will take all the aliyot.
    • We will be suspending kiddush for now.


    Unchanged both indoors and outdoors:

    • Singing in a normal speaking volume is permitted.
    • No need for single-use bathrooms.
    • No surface-contact restrictions. 


    Thank you for partnering with us in our endeavor to be a kehillah kedoshah - a values-driven sacred community. With all this uncertainty, one thing is certain – together, as a community, we will safely and meaningfully continue our mission of Torah, Tefillah and Chesed with gracious and generous communal spirit!

    Rabbi Benjamin J. Samuels
    Alex Klibaner, President
    Hagay Ramati, Immediate-Past President



    3 Recommendations from Newton’s Health and Human Services Department 

    Recommendation #1: If you are not yet vaccinated, we strongly encourage you to get vaccinated. If you need assistance getting a vaccine, please go to vaxfinder.mass.gov to locate one. If you have questions and concerns regarding the vaccine, please contact your medical provider or call Newton’s Health and Human Services Department (HHS) at 617-796-1420. 

    Recommendation #2:If you feel unwell, you should stay at home. While this is always good practice, it is critically important during this pandemic to limit the spread of the virus. 

    Recommendation #3: We strongly encourage anyone experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 to isolate from others as soon as possible and get tested for COVID-19, regardless of your vaccination status. You can find nearby testing locations at mass.gov/covid-19-testing. Common symptoms of COVID-19 include: Fever, chills or shaking chills, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, fatigue, headache, body aches, new loss of sense of taste or smell. The following site provides more information about testing including what to do if your test is positive: mass.gov/info-details/about-covid-19-testing#should-i-be-tested?

Sat, September 18 2021 12 Tishrei 5782