By: Kate Weinberg  | 

Morning Minyan Launched on the Beren Campus

A Tuesday morning minyan was launched on the Beren Campus on Feb. 11 by Beren Campus Rabbi Jacob Bernstein, the Torah Activities Council (TAC) and the Beit Midrash Committee. The new minyan will begin at 8:05 a.m. in the Lea and Leon Eisenberg Beit Midrash in Stanton Hall and will end in time for 9:00 a.m. classes. Rabbi Bernstein notified students about this new initiative via email and flyers were posted on Facebook announcing the new minyan.

Previous efforts to have minyanim on the Beren Campus, such as on Rosh Chodesh, have resulted in significant turnouts. However, attempts by Leora Moskowitz (SCW ‘21), President of the Beit Midrash Committee, and Fruma Landa (SCW ‘21), Minyan Men Coordinator of the Shabbat Enhancement Committee (SEC), to establish a regular weekly minyan were unsuccessful because they were unable to gather ten men to commit to regularly attending a minyan on the Beren Campus. 

Despite prior unsuccessful attempts to start a regular morning minyan, during TAC’s tefillah week, which took place the week of Feb. 3, a Tuesday morning minyan was held on the Beren Campus. After the success of that initiative, the minyan was officially launched to be an ongoing weekly occurrence.

Tuesday was chosen because it is the day most Jewish male faculty members at Beren Campus are around to attend a minyan there. These faculty members, together with male students uptown who agreed to travel to Beren Campus on Tuesday mornings, currently compose the regular weekly minyan.

While many students choose to pray on their own, a minyan provides the opportunity for students to have a more communal prayer experience. “There are many students davening by themselves,” said Rabbi Bernstein. “The idea of having a minyan is a point of collection for the students to come together and daven together.”

To comprise Tuesday’s minyan, Rabbi Bernstein and student leaders contacted a number of Jewish male faculty members on the Beren Campus. Those who have committed to participate include Rabbi Yosef Blau, Rabbi David Nachbar, Rabbi Yisroel Meir Rosenzweig, Prof. Alan Broder, Prof. David Hornung and Rabbi Bernstein. Additionally, the Office of Student Life (OSL) will be covering travel expenses for male students coming downtown, and Rabbi Nachbar has offered to give a shiur following the minyan

Zachary Orenshein (YC ‘20) was one of the seven Wilf students who attended the Tuesday minyan on Feb. 11. “Having a minyan on campus is a bracha,” said Orenshein. “The Torah tells us to spread the brachot in our lives to others when we can.” While a number of Wilf students who attended the kickoff Tuesday morning minyan expressed interest in coming to future Tuesday minyanim, future attendees will change from week to week, according to Rabbi Bernstein. Ultimately, the goal is to eventually have a more concrete group commit to a regular minyan, which may take additional coordination. Rabbi Bernstein also expressed interest in reaching out to the staff working in dining services on the Beren Campus to see if they would attend as well.

One of Rabbi Bernstein’s initial concerns that prevented the minyan from taking off until now was that the minyan could conflict with Rabbi Gideon Shloush’s morning minyan at Adereth El, a synagogue on 29th Street. The Tuesday morning minyan at Beren was therefore scheduled to take place at a different time than the minyan at Adereth El. While some Beren students attend the morning minyan at Adereth El, Rabbi Bernstein hopes that more students will consistently choose to come to the minyan that is now offered on the Beren Campus.

TAC President Bella Adler (SCW ‘20) touted the success of the minyan and the efforts to create it. “We are so grateful for the big support from the student body and are very excited to be partnering with Rabbi Bernstein and the Office of Student Life to make Tuesday minyan a normative weekly experience,” she said.

According to Rabbi Bernstein, the initiative to bring a morning minyan to the Beren Campus has received positive feedback from students. This past Tuesday’s minyan was attended by approximately 25 Beren students.

“The minyan on campus highlights some of the struggles some women on the Beren campus face,” remarked Fruma Landa (SCW ‘21). “The Beren Campus does not have a morning yeshiva program like the Wilf Campus does; meaning, the women in my A slot gemara shiur need to find time for seder on their own.”

Reflecting on the first Beren Tuesday minyan, she said, “I feel that the needs of all the women who are committed to davening shacharis with a minyan were noticed and I am looking positively towards a future where the Beren Campus will have three minyanim a day.”

We are so grateful for the big support from the student body and are very excited to be partnering with Rabbi Bernstein and the Office of Student Life to make Tuesday minyan a normative weekly experience.

Adler lauded the minyan as a vehicle to further enrich Jewish life on the Beren Campus. “TAC's role on campus is to create as many opportunities for Jewish engagement on campus as possible, and we couldn't be more excited to help make minyan one of those opportunities,” she said. “Minyan is just one more access point to build Jewish community, and we hope that the experience of davening together on campus can speak for itself.” 

Correction: A prior version of this story omitted TAC’s role in starting the minyan. The Commentator regrets this omission.

Photo Caption: The Lea and Leon Eisenberg Beit Midrash zmanim wall Photo Credit: The Commentator