Our idea for an independent minyan came about last year, during our post-Yom Kippur dinner. We have a number of friends who are rabbis, and because of the restrictions that many synagogues placed on their congregations due to COVID, we were looking for something other than a "live-streamed" service.
For many people, the online services allowed them to attend a synagogue led by a great hazzan without leaving their home. For those of us who, for whatever reason, do not enjoy participating in that manner, we felt that there must be a better way. Online just didn't work for the high holidays for us.
We had talked about and putting together a service in our back yard and working with Rabbis Jennifer and Sean Gorman, we made the arrangements and invited our friends to join us. The Gorman family attended, along with the Greenspans and our friends from Florida, the Gottesman family as well as a number of other people from the area. We had close to 20 people with us at each service, and Rabbi Sean was able to procure a "Holocaust Torah" so we had full services, from start to finish, including a kiddush.
The services were incredibly meaningful for everyone. The outdoor setting was enhanced with a large tent in case of rain, but the weather was clear and mild so we could sit in the shade around the ponds or under the tent. Services were brief but there was always time for discussion or questions.
Our original intent was to hold the service in a backyard when possible but the weather in Bathurst Manor is not conducive to being outside between November and April.But something wonderful happened! The Borochov Centre on Wilson Heights north of Sheppard, hosts a synagogue known a Kol Yisroel Congregation, which has only met on Rosh Hashanna and Yom Kippur for the past 5 or so years. We talked to the administrator and they invited us to use the facilites and hold our services at the Centre.
They have siddurim, chumashim and torahs, and a lovely chapel which has been a great place to hold a shabbat service.
All we need is you!
We would love to see you at our next Shabbat service, information can be found on the front page of the website.