Tales of the Havurah is a kaleidoscope of interrelated stories about life in the Jewish counterculture in post-1960's Boston.
Narrated by a talkative, pot-smoking host named Solomon, who is endowed with "a chaotic, eccentric, ironic, poetic, and touchy religious bent," the stories introduce the reader into an off-beat little universe of educated but not-always-reverent young adults experimenting with creating a new style of close-knit Jewish community while also seeking to forge a meaningful yet contemporary spiritual life.
Serving up a mixture of stories both funny and serious, Solomon ushers the reader into a big old rambling house that serves as home to Havurat Chaim Community, the heart of Jewish counterculture gatherings. Solomon then spins out tales about his own and his fellow group members' personal lives – their loves and friendships, their inner struggles and searches, and their often unorthodox relationship to Jewish observance.
Within these varied stories, the reader encounters wondrous and sensually evocative Friday night dinners, garrulous communal meals, an array of unusual visitors and oddball hangers-on, as well as an unusual perspective on the game of baseball, a private pilgrimage to the Western Wall, and an incongruous visit to the local synagogue, among other stops along the way.
Tales of the Havurah captures a particular moment in America, when a rebellious youth culture – influenced by rock music, psychedelic drugs, changing sexual ethics, and eastern philosophies – intersected with traditional Jewish practice, symbols and values, ultimately bringing profound changes to the American Jewish society at large.