July 4, 2024
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Kehilas Sheves Achim of Hillside Celebrates Fourth Anniversary

The tent where it all began… and the shul now.

(Courtesy of Kehilas Sheves Achim) It’s June of 2020, and Covid-19 has thrown a significant wrench into the regular rhythm of Jewish communal life with many shuls canceling minyanim over the health risks associated with davening indoors. After being approached by a local chiyuv who found himself unable to say kaddish for his recently niftar father, Rabbi Yitchok Moully of Hillside acquiesced to starting an outdoor minyan in his backyard -—and Kehilas Sheves Achim was born.

That fall, the minyan — gaining a strong base of dedicated mispallelim -—constructed a tent to battle plummeting temperatures and installed carpets and heaters to keep congregants warm and the minyanim going during the coming frigid winter months.

Just before Shavuos of 5781, the shul moved into the basement of 880 Salem Avenue. After the first year, the home owner decided to sell the property. After attending the minyan weekly, she felt it would be meaningful and appropriate to offer the property to the shul.The community decided that this location would become the permanent home of Sheves Achim and came together, quickly collecting enough money to purchase the property.

Besides navigating the pandemic, the shul has had its share of adversity, including a fire that ravaged the shul’s roof and attic, shutting them out of the property just before the Yomim Noraim of 5782. In true Sheves Achim fashion, the kehilla used their creativity and tenacity to stick it out, finding substitute spaces, with a quick return to their building shortly after Sukkos of the same year.

Torah Tuesdays.

In addition to its regular minyanim and shtiebel style Shabbos services, the shul provides the community with a plethora of learning opportunities and events. Highlights include: a lively weekly children’s minyan with davening prizes, weekly men’s learning on Torah Tuesdays, and women’s social events, including Rosh Chodesh learning sessions. They have celebrated two Hachnosas Sefer Torahs, and last year, unveiled a fully renovated playroom for the youngest shul members. Sheves Achim has hosted bar mitzvahs, Shabbos Sheva Brachos, aufrufs, and b”H, has seen the engagements and weddings of congregants and their children.

Led by a dedicated board of directors and Rabbis Yitzchok Moully and Michoel Shapiro, the shul is truly a labor of love, sustained by a caring community and volunteers, who are all blessed to have come together under the banner of Sheves Achim. The shul prides itself on having attracted a diverse and devoted membership, and moving from yard to tent to basement, Sheves Achim is now a thriving community looking towards a bright future!

From the homemade cholent every Shabbos to the communal kiddush where everyone contributes Divrei Torah, singing and l’chaims, Sheves Achim provides a warm and heimishe experience for anyone who walks in the door. To those who have not experienced the light and immediate feeling of belonging found at Sheves Achim, the community invites you all to stop in for an event or a Shabbos.

Hachnasat Sefer Torah celebration.

Mazel tov on this anniversary, and Kehilas Sheves Achim should be blessed to see more years together as a kehilla!

You can contact the shul by emailing them at [email protected].

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