April 12, 2024
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A Taste of Morocco in Teaneck

Congregation Bnai Yeshurun has taken strides to incorporate and involve those of different backgrounds, with the inaugural meeting of the Moroccan minyan. For years, the minyan met privately in homes for the the high holidays, but the group rapidly outgrew their space and there became a demand for meeting on a weekly basis. Bnai Yeshurun graciously opened its doors.

After months of renovation, the group, comprised of “not-just-Moroccans,” began meeting early in Chodesh Elul, and has been rapidly gaining popularity, attracting other members of the shul for an occasional immersion into ritualistic Sephardic culture.

Sephardic prayer is both similar and different from its Ashkenazic counterparts, but what sets it apart is that it is largely interactive, engaging all members of the congregation, especially children. There is a focus on chazzanut, on soulful songs that are deep and rich, and their repetitious chanting is easily learned and followed by the congregation. The children are involved by sitting next to their parents, by joining in the singing, by having specific parts where they are called up in the middle of the prayer to lead a song. Young teens are responsible to study the week’s portion of Torah reading, creating a dynamic structure for Tefillah that involves individuals of all ages.

What makes the minyan so successful is that it can call CBY its home. Joining part of an established shul, under the spiritual guidance of Rabbi Steven Pruzansky and Rabbi Ari Zahtz, the minyan benefits from its independence, as well as from its larger affiliation. The Rabbis grace the Moroccan minyan with their presence on a weekly basis, sharing Torah and inspiration to all those present. And the congregants can have a Shabbat morning prayer that feels like a taste of their Middle-Eastern roots, mixed with some contemporary Teaneck.

The meeting space will be at full capacity this Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, because praying there feels like standing before God, holding hands with your family. The intimate space allows for each member to truly get to know the others, and new faces are always warmly welcomed and invited to return.

May Bnai Yeshurun always be a shining example of the beauty in Judaic cultural diversity, of the acceptance of both Ashkenazic and Sephardic descent, and of the paradigmatic belief, “Kol Yisrael Arevim Zeh Lazeh.” We are all responsible for each other, regardless of our perceived differences.

Wishing everyone, in all minyanim, a Shana Tovah.

A Taste of Morocco in Teaneck

By JLBC staff

Congregation Bnai Yeshurun has taken strides to incorporate and involve those of different backgrounds, with the inaugural meeting of the Moroccan minyan. For years, the minyan met privately in homes for the the high holidays, but the group rapidly outgrew their space and there became a demand for meeting on a weekly basis. Bnai Yeshurun graciously opened its doors.

After months of renovation, the group, comprised of “not-just-Moroccans,” began meeting early in Chodesh Elul, and has been rapidly gaining popularity, attracting other members of the shul for an occasional immersion into ritualistic Sephardic culture.

Sephardic prayer is both similar and different from its Ashkenazic counterparts, but what sets it apart is that it is largely interactive, engaging all members of the congregation, especially children. There is a focus on chazzanut, on soulful songs that are deep and rich, and their repetitious chanting is easily learned and followed by the congregation. The children are involved by sitting next to their parents, by joining in the singing, by having specific parts where they are called up in the middle of the prayer to lead a song. Young teens are responsible to study the week’s portion of Torah reading, creating a dynamic structure for Tefillah that involves individuals of all ages.

What makes the minyan so successful is that it can call CBY its home. Joining part of an established shul, under the spiritual guidance of Rabbi Steven Pruzansky and Rabbi Ari Zahtz, the minyan benefits from its independence, as well as from its larger affiliation. The Rabbis grace the Moroccan minyan with their presence on a weekly basis, sharing Torah and inspiration to all those present. And the congregants can have a Shabbat morning prayer that feels like a taste of their Middle-Eastern roots, mixed with some contemporary Teaneck.

The meeting space will be at full capacity this Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, because praying there feels like standing before God, holding hands with your family. The intimate space allows for each member to truly get to know the others, and new faces are always warmly welcomed and invited to return.

May Bnai Yeshurun always be a shining example of the beauty in Judaic cultural diversity, of the acceptance of both Ashkenazic and Sephardic descent, and of the paradigmatic belief, “Kol Yisrael Arevim Zeh Lazeh.” We are all responsible for each other, regardless of our perceived differences.

Wishing everyone, in all minyanim, a Shana Tovah.

 

 

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