Heshbon Hanefesh Meeting of the Library Minyan
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Attendance: Jon Friedman, Robert Braun, Sandra Braun, Lillian Gelberg, Teri Cohan Link, Kathleen Schulweis, Bob Mendelsohn, Stephanie Blatsos, Jonathon Rotter, Dianne Shershow, Seth Schulweis, Debbie Rich, Joel Grossman, Fran Grossman, Sandra Lepson, Ron Andiman, Bob Roosth, Diane Roosth, Scott Taryle, Shulamit Wities, Norm Garr, Menachem Wities, Henry Morgen, Annette Berman, Anita Happel Steve Leventhal, Ruth Sohn, Judy Weinstock, Allen Weinstock, Steve Spronz, Abby Harris, Lida Baker, Avi Havivi, Sandey Fields, Fred Landau, Carl Sunshine, Kathy Rosenblatt, Barry Rosenblatt Meeting Called to Order: 10:12am – breakfast was served from 9:45am. Abby Harris gave a Dvar Torah Seth Schulweis and Debbie Rich ran the meeting, a brainstorming session on Best Moments or What Worked Well and What to Change in the Library Minyan. Rules were set to let everyone say what the feel without having responses. (The minutes were taken to get the ideas down of speakers, no names attributed.) The first statement was that the number of attendees was a good surprise. Only 18-20 people RSVP’d but about 40 people came. Shabbat simchas like yesterday’s (Ufruf of Joel Goldstein) shows we are a living breathing community. But there is a concern that we are dying. At the meeting there was only 1 person under 30. The young don’t feel welcome in leadership. We don’t see little kids running around in services. We need to open up our minds and hearts and bring in the youth. There is a desire for more spirituality in services. Services are very head oriented, want to reach the heart and soul. The davening is more rote than kavanah. There is tremendous beauty in having different people lead, but changes makes it difficult for everyone to join in when the nusach is different, specifically at the Kedusha. There’s a tension between the individual expression and communal experience. How do we regulate or set parameters on davening? What areas can be flexible – open for creativity, and which areas not flexible? We need a manual for the Gabbiim and Shaliach Tzibors. The Founding Principles were enumerated for those not familiar with the start of the Minyan. The Library Minyan was started by a group of young Rabbis and knowledgeable adults with young children who wanted their children with them in services. Rabbi Pressman suggested they use his Library to hold services so the kids would not disturb the sanctuary service. They started at 10am and finished at noon. The Minyan is no longer that small intimate group where kids and babies are easily tolerated. We are a congregation within the larger congregation. We are stale, except that we are getting a little more social with Kiddushes and Friday night dinners. One way to shake things up might be to have the young people sit at the front of the room and the older ones sit towards the back. It is hard to get teenagers to shul without their peers coming. It would be nice to get the pre-teens to young teens involved in the service by having them lead Adon Olam, or Ein Kelohanu and Adon Olam, has Shabbats for teens or teen kiddishes. A “Candy Man” was also mentioned. Have kids open/close the Ark and other activities on a regular basis to involve the young pre-Bar/Bat and post Bar/Bat mitzvah kids. How do we get a variety of daveners – diverse styles? The Gabaiim have a hard time getting new people and the teenagers are necessarily interested; they like to sleep on Shabbat. It was suggested we have a Library Minyan list to include emails and the children’s names. Then a question came up of who is considered a member. Suggestion made that if we want to increase participation then it might be advantageous to relax the requirements of a member and include all who say they are members on the membership application. Why do people go to other minyanim? Ikar, Shtebal and Pico Egal have full Torah readings and they have lively davening. In general they are younger, have a more conscious & intentionality process. Bnai David has good child care and the kids are either in childcare or with their parents. The kids are brought in at Ein Kelohanu to sit on the bimah (and there is a candy man). The Minyan is now run on inertia. We need to spend more time on effective electronic communications. The younger members are more used to electronic communications, we need to incorporate this into our process. We don’t have an ongoing structure – need to create (re-create) the structure. We may need to admit that we are in an inherent change – growing older and can’t be what we used to be or what other Minyanim are. Historically the Minyan had Shabbat lunches monthly at members’ homes. They were pot luck and issues of the Minyan were discussed. Now we have Kiddushes but we don’t discuss issues. Can we figure out a way to start up lunches at homes and resurrect regular meetings. Abby offered her home after her remodel is finished. We also held meetings on Shabbat after services before going into Kiddush. This could be resurrected also. People are intimidated to lead in the Minyan. We all need to lighten up, not be so critical. Do we really need quality vs. variety. We need a committee that would reach out to potential daveners, support them with resources: tutors/mentors, tapes, or training. We need written rules for daveners. If we have them, how do we enforce them? We need someone to keep track of the Bar/Bat Mitzvahs and followup with them to keep them involved in leading services, reading Torah or Haf-Torah. What constitutes a simcha? Does a 90 th birthday constitute a simcha where we can request full Crea? People naturally select the demographics they want – to be with young people, to be in a lay led minyan, etc. We need to figure out who we are and what we want of this Minyan. We have a traditional davening, but some of us would like a booklet created to use for alternative prayers. We’re not taking full advantages of the resources of the shul and we’re not acknowledging that we are part of a larger organization. We have not asked or insisted on the shul to help us in any way. There is a desire for more spirituality, finding ways that are moving, opening us up to prayer; open us up in and out of services. Some come to the minyan for other reasons than davening. We need to find ways to help people open up and share. We need to be open to creativity, encouraging at certain points in the service into Kavanah whether it is a melody before prayers of meditation. What are we encouraging variety for?
- Open hearts?
- Open understanding?
- Or something else?
- semi-monthly email Minyan information
- Inform families with kids when simchas are happening so the kids can be involved especially if there is candy involved.
- For enrichment purposes
- Reach out to the kids
- Steering Committee
- Email Communications Committee
- Newsletter Committee
- Outreach Committee
- Kids & Teens Committee
- Ritual Committee – includes Davening issues
- Reach out to the older members of the congregation