June 18, 2024
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‘Foundations Minyan’ in Memory of Andy Dimond, z”l Begins at Congregation Beth Aaron This Shabbat

Michelle Dimond and twins Yitzchak (Jay) and Meital Eliana (Molly) marked the first yahrzeit of their beloved husband and father Andy Dimond on the last day of Shevat. A year after his tragic, sudden passing, the family and community are still reeling from his loss.

Several ideas about a fitting tribute to his memory were suggested, but the one that held most meaning for Michelle was an intermediate Shabbat minyan. And so, on Shabbat Parshat Zachor, March 12, a “Foundations Minyan” will be held in the Social Hall on the main level of Congregation Beth Aaron. The minyan will begin with Torah reading at 10 a.m., and under the leadership of Rabbi Larry Rothwachs, will offer introductory and explanatory remarks about the aliyot after they are chanted. Following the Torah reading, Mussaf will be recited aloud with all participants following along. The minyan will be held every five to six weeks and feature a rotation of rabbis. The second session of the minyan will be led by Rabbi Hayyim Angel. A festive kiddush will follow each minyan.

Andy Dimond, z”l was known to members of the Teaneck community through his musical duo Jewbilation, which he formed with singing partner Richard Seaman. The duo performed parodies of English songs with Jewish messages.

Michelle shared: “Andy and Richard sang a song they called ‘The Sounds of Shabbat.’ One of the lines really resonates with me: ‘When we sing as one we will always sing in tune, may it be soon.’ The purpose of the acapella group was to make people feel comfortable about religion. One of my favorite songs is ‘Mechitza in the Middle’ which depicts in a funny way what it feels like for a baal teshuva to attend shul.

“Andy felt that no matter what our religious background is, we are all on a journey and we need to welcome each other warmly. We are fortunate to have been treated to a very warm welcome when we joined Beth Aaron. I am happy that we will be continuing on with Andy’s legacy at Beth Aaron.”

Andy’s much-too-short life was an inspiring journey to Judaism. Born to a completely secular family, he was initially “turned on” to Torah at a late age at an Aish HaTorah Yom Kippur service in Manhattan. He was subsequently convinced to try out the week-long Aish program in Israel, which truly set him on his path. Upon his return, he attended the beginners minyan at Lincoln Square Synagogue under the leadership of Rabbi Ephraim Buchwald, who was very encouraging to him religiously and socially. It was at Congregation Kehillat Yeshurun that Andy met Michelle. His bond with singing partner Richard began at a Hineni Shabbat dinner.

In tribute to the kiruv organizations that were so important in Andy’s life, his family and friends decided upon an explanatory and inclusive minyan to serve as his legacy. Dear friend and neighbor David Fisher, who will be involved in the formation and running of the Foundations Minyan, sees this initiative as truly reflective of Andy’s genuine “love of people of all ages and concern for their comfort and inclusion.”

Andy’s journey reached a high point when, as an adult, he underwent a brit milah and was designated a Hebrew name to be used in calling him up to the Torah. The name he chose was Avraham Simcha. Fast forward exactly 13 years later when his son was born and named Yitzchak. Now the twins are 8 ½ years old, and Michelle recalled how Andy was extremely proud that his twins were receiving an excellent yeshiva education at Yavneh Academy.

In welcoming the new davening initiative to Congregation Beth Aaron, Rabbi Rothwachs shared: “We are so excited to introduce this new minyan and hope that it will inspire all of its participants to achieve greater levels of insight and connection. As we all know, tefillah is an area that requires constant reflection and growth, and we must constantly enrich our understanding and enhance our perspectives as we grow and mature over time.The Foundations Minyan is being established in loving memory of Andy Dimond, z”l to help us achieve these goals.”

Congregation Beth Aaron, located at 950 Queen Anne Road, welcomes all community members to the newly organized Foundations Minyan to begin on Shabbat, March 12, from 10 a.m. to noon, in the social hall on the main level.

For more information or to donate to the initiative or to sponsor a kiddush, contact David Fisher at [email protected] or go to the www.congregationbethaaron.com/foundationminyan  

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