Sunday, June 11, 2006

Hanhu chavurata #4 (Independent minyan gossip column)

After independent minyan gossip columns #1, #2, and #3, Shavuot has inspired me to rename the column to "Hanhu chavurata" ("these chavurot"). Bonus points to the first person to identify the source.

  • This past Shabbat, the minyan of choice for the chavurati was the Cambridge Minyan (in Massachusetts, not England). A certain local university attracted a number of out-of-towners for their 5th, 10th, etc. reunions, so founders of Kol Zimrah, Hadar, Tikkun Leil Shabbat, DC Beit Midrash, and of course the Cambridge Minyan itself (can anyone confirm any others? is Tehillah confirmed?) were all davening in the same room.
  • Of course, the Hadar Shavuot Retreat was a smashing success as always, and Torah was received. But this year there was karaoke! After Shabbat.
  • Beth Shekinah of Washington DC is disbanding, now that most of its members are involved with other Jewish groups.
  • Techiyah of Harlem (NYC) is taking the plunge and moving from apartments to the Harlem Police Athletic League Community Center, having outgrown even the huge-by-Manhattan-standards living rooms of Harlem.
  • Is B'Merkaz (Philly) changing its name and the date of its first meeting?
  • Summer is here! What does this mean for independent minyanim? One of three options: (1) Continue operations as normal, (2) Decrease or suspend operations, or (3) Increase operations. And it's fascinating to see who chooses which of these. For example, our Boston correspondent reports that Tehillah and the Washington Square Minyan are suspending their Shabbat morning services for some or all of the summer, and meeting on Friday nights only, while the Cambridge Minyan is increasing its Shabbat mornings. Here in New York, Kol Zimrah is increasing its frequency (with more bonus services in Brooklyn), the Brooklyn Egal Minyan is going on hiatus for the summer, and everyone else (as far as I'm aware) is keeping their usual frequency. What factors go into these decisions? On the one hand, minyanim with large student populations have their regulars disappear for the summer. On the other hand, if many of the participants are on an academic schedule (students and teachers) and stick around for the summer (which may be more common in New York than in Boston?), then the summer means they have more time and energy to organize things for the minyan. Also, in cities like these, the summer exodus is offset by the influx of people who are in town only for the summer, or moving in during the summer for a longer sojourn. Each minyan has to make these calculations for itself.


  1. I'm rather disappointed that my minyan opted for #2. And, being on the Canadian school system, this means we have four months of summer, thus four months of no services.

  2. The source is the last few lines of Akdamut, unless you meant that someone inspired you to make the change, in which case I'm baffled.

  3. In terms of attendance on Shabbat morning, no Tehillah founders for davening, just kiddush ... but a founding member of Darkhei Noam was there.