April 15, 2024
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April 15, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

The Beauty of a Small Minyan

Sometimes I believe that we get carried away by the size of things. “Wow, did you see the size of their house?” “The wedding was amazing; there had to have been at least 500 people.” As in most of today’s newfound wisdom, I just don’t get it.

We are blessed to live in a community where there are many Torah-observant Jews. “How many minyanim did your shul have?” “Was your shul as packed as ours?” “Did all of the rabbonim speak at your shul or did they rotate?”

I made the decision to go to Rochester, New York and spend Rosh Hashanah with my daughter Malkie and her husband, Baruch. Due to logistics and feelings of wanting to be near their yeshivot for Rosh Hashanah, none of her children came home. It was just “us.” They have attended the same synagogue in Rochester since they moved there. Beth Hakneses Hachodosh, also known as the St Regis Synagogue and now getting more “with it” as BHH, is home to many Rochester old timers and recently an influx of young couples. Their new rav and rebbetzin, Binyamin and Yael Sloviter, are a perfect fit for these new couples. Of course one of the advantages of living in a small community such as Rochester is that the real estate for large, beautiful homes on tree-lined streets is probably half of what it would cost in the NYC area for similar properties without anywhere near the amount of land. They now have schools to meet the needs of most families, and if you are willing to live without restaurants and with more snow it is a great place to consider.

What impressed me on Rosh Hashanah was the warmth and sincerity of the davening in the shul. I am guessing that there were no more than 150 men and women present (loads of kids).

The passion in the voice of the chazan, and the entire room immersed in private and public tefillah was another indication to me of how unnecessary it is to be present in a large shul where many take pride in their numbers. It was indeed very moving.

I let my mind wander to the times when we Jews needed to daven under very different circumstances. Soldiers in the bunkers during the Yom Kippur war, tragic situations in concentration camps where as much as possible people chanted their tefillot, and now with what is going on in the world with Jews in the Ukraine trying to stay positive as they daven to Hakodesh Baruch Hu and listen to the shofar being blown amidst rubble. I honestly do not know where they get the strength. Yet around the world, no matter the circumstance our tefillot are what we have to help us plead with Hashem to continue with his generosity, to heal those of us who are not well, and to better understand his ways, which I have learned are at times too complicated to understand.

Enjoy the “warmth” of your sukkah, regardless of its size, even if the weatherman does not provide the right temperature. It really is the family and friends who provide the warm climate!


Nina Glick can be reached at [email protected].

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