CONGREGATION CHEVRA THILIM

Rating: 4.4 stars   5 reviews

Issues: Religion

Location: 751 25TH Ave San Francisco CA 94121 USA

Mission:

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Community Reviews

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Rating: 5 stars  

Chevra Thilim is the oldest orthodox synagogue in SF. Rabbi Zarchi, is the young, learned and soulful leader of the congregation. His sermons consist of deep insights into the Torah reading and frequently brings out kabbalah interpretations. After every Saturday service, a sit down kiddush is served. There are always one or two congregants that take a new person through the service.

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Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Likely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A lot

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Rating: 2 stars  

7 people found this review helpful

This is Chabbad run Modern Orthodox synagogue located in a rundown building. When my boyfriend and I visited the synagogue most of the congregants were older men and women. When I stepped into the women's section one old woman gave me a dirty look, not sure why. Although They bill themselves as a Modern Orthodox synagogue the mechitza (divider) between the women's section and the men's section is too high and makes it difficult to follow the services. My boyfriend on the other side of the mechitza did not fare much better, he was completely ignored, the rabbi shook his hand like he has leprosy or something. I met Chani Zarchi (the rabbi's wife) before and she seems to be friendly and approachable, her husband on the other hand seems to be aloof and arrogant (New York style rabbi ?). I was told that Chani does not come to the services often because she lives far from the synagogue and cannot walk with her young children. It is too bad because she can make this gloomy place more lively. After the services they had a kiddush (luncheon) and again we sat alone and were ignored, we did not even finish our food, we were just happy to leave. I read that the synagogue is raising money for renovation which I think it is waste of money. After all smiles are already free!, Take for example the Mission Minyan, they need to rent their own place which is a plain simple room in a community building but it is always full to capacity.

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Unlike other Chabbad places they do not serve alcohol to minors.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-1-01

Rating: 5 stars  

9 people found this review helpful

Having been in a "spiritual diaspora" I wanted to return to my community but was nervous about returning with such little knowledge to a community that had so much. The entire congregation was more welcoming, non-judgmental and helpful than I ever could have imagined. Everyone has made my husband and I feel welcome and has inspired us to learn and grow. We look forward to and thoroughly enjoy our time at the shul, including Shabbat services, Torah study, and our anticipated Hebrew classes.

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The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

incredibly welcoming.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

shed even more light on the world and inspire more people to do the same.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-10-01

Rating: 5 stars  

9 people found this review helpful

Congregation Chevra Thilim lives up to its name as a group of friends in prayer. Rabbi Zarchi is a learned in Torah, Talmud, and Zohar, and is able to put a meaningful and emotionally-engaging spin on these Jewish treasures in English and Yiddish for the contemporary spiritual seeker. Rebbitzin Chani is also very learned in Judaism and is a fabulous cook and organizer, not to mention being a role model of an excellent mother. The members of this congregation include many immigrants with many talents who are warm and welcoming to people of all backgrounds. I have good Sephardi and Mizrachi friends, including a rabbi, who participate in services here, with the Ashkenazi members, and everyone senses that it feels "heimisch," really a nice homey closeness to HaShem. The small children who both cuddle up to their parents then run off to play with their friends instill a sense of the celebration of life in contrast to the generational segregation popular at less traditional services. The historical character of the shul adds an element of simplicity which appeals to me.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

its Shabbat, Rosh HaShanah, and Yom Kippur services, and in talking and getting to know its members at the Oneg Shabbats.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

slow down parts of the prayer service.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

spiritual depth, warmth, and openness.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

caring human beings who are concerned about the Jewish present and future.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

bring back more of the assimilated and self-hating Jews in the Bay Area back to Judaism.

Ways to make it better...

they slowed down their chanting of the Hymn of Glory (Ani Zemirot), and used a more participatory and slower version of other prayers.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

the Bay Area's hostility to Orthodox Judaism and Chabad including large parts of the leadership of the Jewish community.

One thing I'd also say is that...

Overall, this congregation is a success.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-10-01

Rating: 5 stars  

4 people found this review helpful

Great services, great cantor, satisfying experience. Only downside is sort of old run-down building, but apparently they are going to redo it!

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

If you're new to Jewish observance, they are very helpful.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Make services later. Way later.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

It's awesome.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

The Rabbi..... his wife..... ?

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Fill the sanctuary with massage chairs.

Ways to make it better...

The building didn't make me sneeze.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Money issues I'd guess.

One thing I'd also say is that...

Good luck.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-10-01

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