The Best Minyan \ Yehudit Gorfine

Kipa Determination on the Hill
After 55 years of Zionism, where you should pray?

Published in Hatzofe
May 6, 2003

Not “Ohel Nechama”, not “Yakar”, not the Great Synagogue in Jerusalem, not the prayers at “Yeshival Har Etzion”, not at “Yeshivat Maalot Eliahu” in Tel-Aviv, not at “Hillel” in Ramat-Gan, not the prayers at “Beit Bagno” in Bnei-Brak, not “Young Israel” in Petach-Tikva, Netanya, Ra’anana and others take the title of the best prayer. All those Synagogues are are excellent and recommended. But the best of them all ? – “Lechu Neranana” Synagogue n in Givat Shmuel.aaaaaa From all the minyans and synagogues, I found one surprising. Around 150 men standing crowded, singing and dancing with dedication that wouldn’t shame any Hasidic community. Behind the curtain sitting 90 women. The prayers – from all ages – represent three generations. On each available space, standing additional women, such that you couldn’t imagine that their Friday eve’s highest priority is to get dressed and arrive as early as possible to the synagogue, in order to have a seat (they are still women!). And despite that – immediately after candle lighting they run to pray. This crowd, like one big mass of prayers, is overflowing the large caravan. 100 more women decorate one side and 100 more men from the other side. No one is talking. Babies are silent. Outside the caravan, women are standing near their children’s prams, and the babies are peacefully looking around and enjoying the prayers atmosphere. Real wonder. The congregation’s attention is fully dedicated to concentrating in the prayer, to the Carlebach sweet melody, to the gentle singing.
This is the “Lechu Neranana” Carlebach Synagogue, which stands in the middle of the sandy couryard of the “Zevulon Hammer” school. The congregants have knitted kippot (except for several Haredim who came from Bnei-Brak to see the attraction). All of them are people like you and me, and I am wondering why here they achieve dreamlike prayers? Why here they are not busy talking but instead they are singing so beautifully How come that teen-agers girls, are not interested in their clothes but concentrated in the Siddur and thinking about the meanings of the words?
In my synagogue – the people are from the same background: young people between the ages of age of 20-30, alumni of “Bar-Ilan” University or equivalent, alumni of the religious Zionism’s education institutions, who work hard in order to make a decent living, who have young children and maybe a mortgage. And still, in “Lech Neranana” the Shabbat prayer is different. Those young people here may have ahigher mortgage, and should be busier than people who leave in a religious neighborhood with reasonable real-estate prices. And still they are not exchanging information with their friends during the prayers, no jokes or updates. Net prayer. Maybe in fact, due to the high real-estate prices in this area, they need to concentrate in praying.

1 comment:

Sorra said...

Every once in awhile, I feel the need to daven at "my shule" in Givat Shmuel. I don't live anywhere near the shule, however, I consider it my personal house of prayer. Ten years ago, when I was working in Maynei Hayshua Hospital in Bnai Brak, I had to work on Yom Kippur. I was devastated--how would I pray somewhere other than at Maarat Hamachpela on Yom Kippur? After working a double 16 hour shift, from erev yom tov until 7 AM, I arrived at Lechu Neranena for shacharit. From seven AM until six PM, I was transfixed by the continuous song and by seeing everyone fasting with smiles on their faces. At the conclusion of Neila, when the congregation said, L'shana haba b'Yerushalayim, I answered, "I'm with you guys". I come every year and I am always warmly received and given a seat. I try to come for Shabbat every so often as well as for other events. It is truely the most best Carlebach minyan anywhere. Kol hakavod.
Sorra Landau
Formerly of Kiryat Arba and today residing in Efrat