October 23, 2011 10:02 am at 10:02 am #600095
Boro Park is full of totally Chassidish minyanim, many per block, with a handful of Litvish minyanim which are petering out day by day, and sprinkled with a few Modern Orthodox-type shuls. There isnt a single vibrant Minyan, similar to Aish Kodesh of Woodmere, where people of varying levels of frumkeit can come together to daven with an inspiring, charismatic Rov. Ideally, Beth El in BP could become a Shul where the congregation is led by a young energetic king of Kiruv (there are many candidates out there) which could develop intoa place with steady shiurim, singles events, etc.. The present Rabbi is a genuinely nice person, but he’s not attracting congregants or excitement/interest to the Shul or the neighborhood, and doesnt have the appeal or background to bridge the gap of exciting people of both Chassidishe and Litvish backgrounds. A young exciting Kiruv Rabbi, with loads of personality, could be hired alongside the present Rabbi, at least. Many in Boro Park are pining for just such a Shul.
Temple Beth El is well located, the most stunning Shul in the world, large, has a great Chazzan, and sadly, mostly empty right now. Boro Park has among the population many who feel the Chasidishe minyanim dont fill their needs, and they dont have options in BP for Aish Kodesh type inspiration.
With each passing day we hear of new young adults going OTD, and having such a Shul as Aish Kodesh of Woodmere, in BP, beloved by all the congregants, filled with excitement in the air, surely could only help the situation.
Am I the only one who feels the Shidduch of Temple Beth El with its magnificent architecture, sadly quite empty, coupled with the excitement of the Aish Kodesh atmosphere could do magical things and bring about a reawakening for many in BP who are at the present time, walking the walk, and talking the talk, but sadly uninspired.October 23, 2011 2:47 pm at 2:47 pm #822220
Woudnt BP’s population benefit from an Aish Kodesh type Shul? I cant think of a single Shul, among the many existing ones, that even comes close.October 23, 2011 3:00 pm at 3:00 pm #822221stuckMember
So open your own. It doesn’t have to be davka this shul.October 23, 2011 3:05 pm at 3:05 pm #822222
You have some very valid points.
On occassion i frequent the shul and too found that the Rabbi, knowledgeable and nice is giving a sermon rather than speak to speak to the people. Yes, there is room for improvement to attract more people which would include trying shidduchim for many of the older singles that are looking to get married.October 23, 2011 3:44 pm at 3:44 pm #822223
Thanks, Ms. Critique!
I feel the Rabbi is a polished speaker, and dont want to put him down, but he isnt attracting and inspiring people, ranging from Chassidish to totally non-observant, including potential BT’s and potential OTD’s, from all corners of the earth, with glee and excitement, like Aish Kodesh’s Rabbi does. They have electricity in the air at Aish Kodesh, and Beth El, the stunning Shul can have the same, with the right leadership and planning.October 23, 2011 3:56 pm at 3:56 pm #822224
How many non-frum Jews live in BP, anyways?October 23, 2011 4:20 pm at 4:20 pm #822225
Dr Seuss, How many non-frum Jews live in BP, anyways?
Hee hee, First of all BP has lots of Jews, many not shul-goers altogether.
More importantly, BP has lots and lots of frum Jews, walking the walk, talking the talk (with a sprinkling of some disenchanted and disinterested, on their way out to what seems to them like greener pastures- we’ve all read about them- texting, etc) and yearning for a Shul as described.
There can only be gain.October 23, 2011 4:33 pm at 4:33 pm #822226
i daven there every friday night, ive been part of YIBP since i was around 10 years old and i love the place. tell us more about this aish hathingy whatsit shulOctober 23, 2011 4:43 pm at 4:43 pm #822227
What is Aish Kodesh of Woodmere like?October 23, 2011 5:01 pm at 5:01 pm #822228
soliek, I am referrring to Aish Kodesh in Woodmere with a warm inspiring Rov, loved by all, who has a YU background and moved towards Chassidus, and attracts all types to his almost electrically charged Minyanim and functions. You can google Aish Kodesh in Woodmere, and even better, see clips on You—-.
I have been coming to Beth El for more years than Im willing to admit to hear the Chazzan. Its the most beautiful Shul in the world, in my opinion.
BUT, to think what it could be as opposed to what it is….What a contribution it would be to Brooklyn!
Otherwise, how much longer will it be around? It could easily go the way of the nearby Emanuel. Are they attracting new members (I dont think so)? It could be dynamite. Such wasted potential!October 23, 2011 5:27 pm at 5:27 pm #822229
emanuel was conservative. please dont compare teh two. and i dont think YIBP is interested in going chassidishOctober 23, 2011 5:41 pm at 5:41 pm #822230mexipalParticipant
the rav of YIBP has been mekarev many people over the years and tries very hard to get new members including non-frum, non-shul goers and people who need a different atmosphere. please be careful before putting him down.there may be other reasons why the shul doesn’t attract the large crowd anonymous wants them to getOctober 23, 2011 5:45 pm at 5:45 pm #822231600 Kilo BearMember
Heichal Menachem comes to mind. They are actually not interested in pushing Chabad but rather in having a shul where people feel comfortable. The only problem is that those who feel comfortable in the HM shul at present are seekers of another kind – very haimish, Chassidish people who no longer feel they want to daven wherever they grew up because of machloikes in their original communities.
I think Airmont (yes, as in Reb Lipa’s Shtibl) is more of a model for what BP needs than either Aish Kodesh or Heichal Menachem. Both AishK and HM are more intellectual in approach; the BP marginal crowd is looking more to feel wanted and to enjoy davening than to have a rov who can really explain things. I’ve only been to HM once and what I saw was a (very mixed as far as origins and affiliation) crowd that was really into heavy-duty learning and therefore just as unattractive to the segment of the BP community that really needs and is crying for guidance than a regular shul would be. Aish Kodesh really isn’t geared to the BP crowd either.
Lipa would choke (literally and figuratively) in the air of BP but there must be someone who can run a shul like that in BP, even if, like Lipa, he lets others handle the rabbonus. The closest shul I know of to what BP probably needs is Rabbi Fund’s minyan in Flatbush.October 23, 2011 6:05 pm at 6:05 pm #822232
First of all I probably know more about Beth el then anyone in the coffee room. my family are members of the shul and I have been davening there since I was a baby. the Rabbi is a dedicated Rov who cares about the shul. Also the shul belongs to the Young Israel movement and can’t be changed. I’m curious if anonymous is even a member of the shulOctober 23, 2011 7:19 pm at 7:19 pm #822233
i am and by the way…what mexipal said is absolutely correct. rabbi snow has done so much kiruv since he took over as rav…to suggest otherwise is just idioticOctober 23, 2011 7:28 pm at 7:28 pm #822234
Mexipal, you said it!
the rav of YIBP has been mekarev many people over the years and tries very hard to get new members including non-frum
By the way, we were paying members until an elderly relative who loved the Shul passed on.
soliek, Emanuel was conservative but suffered from a dwindling membership, just as Beth El does. I dont think anyone thinks Beth El has much of a future, unless changes are made. A large percentage of the small numbers of Shul-goers are over 65 and their caretakers, they should live til 120.
Id happily like to see Beth El attract more BP people and outsiders for warmth and whatever it is they are looking for (different reasons for different people), just as the many different types flock to Aish Kodesh, Hineni, Rabbi Fund, Carlebach Minyan, etc. The Rabbi wouldnt have to be Chassidish, as long as he attracts, inspires and is warm towards all types.
Does anyone else have any ideas, with the curent Rabbi remaining?
Would it be palatable to hire a vibrant assistant?October 23, 2011 7:53 pm at 7:53 pm #822235mexipalParticipant
rabbi snow has had success attracting people. I repeat again there might be other factors involved. honestly, this topic doesn’t really belong on the cr. any suggestions should go to someone involved in the shul who can make proper decisions.October 23, 2011 8:26 pm at 8:26 pm #822236
what you need to understand is that there is a NEED for YIBP as it is. there are people who would NOT ATTEND shul unles it was a YIBP type shul. its not always about quantity…there are quite a few young families who have joined recently…the shul isnt quite dead yet. dissolving the shul, or changing the shul as we know it is a terrible idea. just because you dont understand why teh shul exists or how it works…does not mean that it has to change.October 23, 2011 8:35 pm at 8:35 pm #822237LSHMember
I personally prefer a small shul. But. If I were to give advice I’d say that a women’s program from 9-3, Monday-Wednesday would increase attendance. The flavor of it would be in between an Ohr Naava and Drisha. There would have to be a RH dovening that had the tunes that BT’s have been introduced to (NCSY style). Maybe there should be a longer and a shorter service for Friday Night and Shabbos Morning. Both would be high quality but one would be shorter. There’s a lot of pressure to not carry into the shul. In other words it’s a little too strict for a MO BT. I would also add a Melava Malka program.
I guess one of my favorite shuls was Ramat Oorah on the UWS. Women felt very comfortable there. I was able to attend prayer services every morning and then get a piece of halacha. It was really great. On Friday night there would be an announcement asking if people had a place to eat. The shul gave off a very friendly atmosphere.
Meanwhile I appreciate the shul and everyone there. The Rabbi is a super great teacher and I would recommend any man above Bar Mitzvah to attend his Daf Yomi shiur.
Dwindling attendance at the older shuls in Boro Park is a common problem. Most of the young YI style people have moved out. And who knows? Maybe like me they want a small shul.October 23, 2011 8:36 pm at 8:36 pm #822238
anonymous I am sorry for your lost but i don’t see how it connects to not being a member anymore. Your suggestion for changing Young Israel from what it is and hiring a new Rov is not your call and it is highly offensive.October 23, 2011 8:48 pm at 8:48 pm #822239
ok. to all of you who think the shul should change…just stop it. you dont understand teh shul, you dont understand teh rav, and you dont understand the mispallelim. so please…keep it to yourself…your misplaced altruism is touching but fake.October 23, 2011 8:52 pm at 8:52 pm #822240good.jewMember
Maybe PBA can be your rabbi?October 23, 2011 8:58 pm at 8:58 pm #822241
foodie, I can become a member in 5 minutes, if thats what having an opinion neccesitates. We all have opinions on millions of issues/groups/etc, whether we’re members or not.
1- I wonder how the Shul pays its bills. I would imagine with difficulty.
2- I wonder how most Shul board members and other members would feel about increased activities and interest in their Shul. Would they be upset? I doubt it. They Shul could customize based on members needs/preferences. One man, one vote! Is status quo always best left alone? No room for any improvement of any type? Doubtful.October 23, 2011 9:22 pm at 9:22 pm #822242
what youre suggesting isnt improvement…its changing. theres a difference. as for the shul’s bills…that is none of your businessOctober 23, 2011 9:35 pm at 9:35 pm #822243
soliek, doesnt it bother you at all that a Shul that can seat and inspire thousands religiously, has a tiny fraction of that each Shabbos and Yom Tov?
Can you offer even one improvement/change you’d like?October 23, 2011 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm #822244
Well said Soliek. If you daven at the shul even just for Rosh Chodesh benching you should become a member. the membership fees are not a lot and it gives money to the Shul.October 23, 2011 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm #822245
soliek, I humbly ask, doesnt it bother you at all that a Shul that can seat and inspire thousands religiously, has a tiny fraction of that each Shabbos and Yom Tov?
Can you offer even one improvement/change you’d like?October 23, 2011 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm #822246
Another factor or type which can be attracted are the Med students at Maimonidies Hospital such as the Congregation Ohr Hachayim of upper East Side in Manhattan does for the med students from Mt. Sinai and Lenox in N.Y.C.
This is a very important topic and we all have to try to keep this shul alive.
Even though i attend rarely such as for High Holy Days or special Shabbosim, i make an effort to give a nice contribution annually.
Perhaps their website should be updated weekly and there should be communal functions such as inspiring lectures that may attract more(for a fee of coarse).October 23, 2011 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm #822247
my problem is that it already is attracting and inspiring the crowd that needs inspiring. ive seen so many people become closer to yahadus as a result ogf the shul…bringing in chassidim and yeshivish for example would just drive away those people who really need a shul like YIBE.
does it bother me? yes it does. the shul is beautiful, stunning. the chazzan and choir are moving and inspirational and the rabbi is a powerful and brilliant speaker, and it gets maybe 50-70 people a shabbos. it bothers me a lot. but i know that a lot of people would lose so much if the shul’s demographic changed that it just isnt worth it.
say what you want but there are a lot of people who live in boro park but do not feel comfortable around anyone but their own type. whether its justified or not…thats how it is and thats why they come to the shul. because they feel like they belong.
are there changes i think can be made? yes. but only within a specific set of parameters. the demographic of the shul CANNOT change. i go there because i know that it is unlike any other shul in the area. and i know if i feel that way…that many if not most of the mispallelim feel that way. i dont know how well you know them…but i know most of them quite well.
i also know that the rav and some members of the board are trying to come up with ways to get more people involved and to get existing members more involved, but i can tell you right now that there is now way that they will ever look to change the shul’s demographic.October 23, 2011 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm #822248
oh and by the way…to all of you who are saying that the rav isnt speaking to the people or cant connect to young people…first of all ive spent more time around the rav than you have and im 19. i feel quite a strong connection and i like him very much. secondly, he teaches 12th grade!!! how much closer to your target age group do you want?! thirdly, you dont know the man so please…lay off
“Perhaps their website should be updated weekly and there should be communal functions such as inspiring lectures that may attract more(for a fee of coarse).”
its being considered BTW
the website needs someone to run it. if you feel like doing it…feel free. i might if no one else wants to.October 24, 2011 12:02 am at 12:02 am #822249
soliek, but i can tell you right now that there is now way that they will ever look to change the shul’s demographi
Please define/clarify the above statement.
If some slightly less religious or slightly more religious, or people who are in other ways different, were interested in joining the Shul, or Shidduchim were made as a result of increased membership, that would upset you and most of the other members?
Generally, unless a Shul is busting at its seams, which BE is not, new members are welcome, unless such new members lessen the sanctity of the Shul and spoil the mood.
the website needs someone to run it. if you feel like doing it…feel free. i might if no one else wants to.
Kol Hakavod! You sound like a person with emotion and drive.October 24, 2011 12:08 am at 12:08 am #822250HaQerMember
Maybe you need Rabbi Jonathan Shippel.October 24, 2011 12:26 am at 12:26 am #822251
“Generally, unless a Shul is busting at its seams, which BE is not, new members are welcome, unless such new members lessen the sanctity of the Shul and spoil the mood.”
have you not been paying attention? im telling you that there are quite a few mispallelim there who for them it is beth el or nothing. chassidim have their shuls. yeshivish have their shuls. everyone has their shul already! but the people who are committed and dedicated to beth el…THAT is their ONLY shul! i can tell you this for a fact! is it worth it to sacrifice those people just to fill seats?
the problem with gearing the shul toward different demographics is not that the mispallelim and myself are prejudiced or opposed to other types of jews. if chassidim and yeshivish and modern and buchari and sefardi and temani want to daven there fell free! kol hakavod! but if the demographic that the shul focuses on shifts from what it is now which is old boro park (not necessarily geriatric…more the old boro park type) more modern people to chassidish and yeshivish etc…then the focus of the shul shifts off the people who need it the most and on to those who are there to fill seats. i can tell you with absolute certainty that many of them would stop coming…and most of not all of those would not go to shul at all. (or at least not as frequently)
not every shul in boro park has to be cookie cutter. YIBE is different and we NEED a shul thats different to attract people who dont feel comfortable anywhere else. you may not understand this but kiruv and outreach and getting people more interested in torah and yahadus isnt about numbers. getting people involved in a shul, and involved in shiurim etc is not about “oh how many people can i say attended my shiur, or heard my drasha” its about the quality of teh impact and impression on the people you influence.
so 200 chassidim might be inspired once or twice…but do they need it as badly as that young adult who sits in the back of young israel beth el quietly davening and enjoying the shul because it is the only place he feels welcome? is it worth it to shaft that family who is not from around here and doesnt feel welcome anywhere else, but in young israel beth el of boro park feels like part of a larger family? is it fair to alienate the pashutah yid who works in a post office but now knows so much gemara because the only daf yomi shiur he would ever attend is given at beth el?
you dont understand because you onviously arent there as often as i am and you obviously dont see hapening what i see, but there are so many people who daven there, who i have known for 10 years sho have grown tremendously as a direct result of teh shul and especially due to the efforts of Rabbi Snow. and i can guarantee you…that were it not for Young Israel Beth El existing as it does today…those people would never have become what they are today.
i love the shul. ive given a lot to it. time, money, attendance…and i can tell you that numbers are a distant second to what we accomplish at beth el. its true…we can accomplish more. and we can influence and impact more people…but not like you are suggesting.October 24, 2011 12:37 am at 12:37 am #822252
The board members are trying to organize more events but that takes a lot of time and effort. The shul is open to all types of mispallim and many different people attend the shul. the Rov works hard and is very dedicated to the shul. If you don’t attend the shul on a regular basis it is not your call to make on how to change it.October 24, 2011 12:46 am at 12:46 am #822253
^BAM! are you on the board btw?October 24, 2011 12:47 am at 12:47 am #822254oot for lifeParticipant
Lately I have had great difficulty finding a shul to my liking. But I would never expect a shul to change just because I like something different. It seems a little self-centered to me.
As an aside, in my travels I have been to the shul the OP speaks of in Woodmere. And I agree there is something very special about it and the kehillah. But I am not sure how just by saying to duplicate it, it gets duplicated. And I remember hearing people there mention that they specifically moved to Woodmere for the shul, perhaps if that is the shul you are looking for perhaps *gasp* you should leave brooklyn.October 24, 2011 12:55 am at 12:55 am #822255
I would but I cant leave brooklyn- kids in school, job, I have a house that that id have to sell at a huge loss now, high taxes/lifestyle, not financially doable….October 24, 2011 1:03 am at 1:03 am #822256
and whose problem is that?
do you daven at the shul often?October 24, 2011 1:56 am at 1:56 am #822258koillel101Member
My friend started davening by Rabbi Eisenberger and he said it is a very mixed crowd and that the rov is very warm and accepting.October 24, 2011 2:13 am at 2:13 am #822260
and whose problem is that?
Almost everyone in the USA.
do you daven at the shul often?
I try, but the population was a better fit for my octogenarian and nonagenarian relatives, a”h. I went there as a small child when the Kousevitzkys were Chazzanim in BP, and there was electricity in the air and there wasnt a spare seat in the shul.
soliek, may everyone there and the rest of Klal Yisroel live gezunterheit til 120, but what do you predict the membership will look and feel like in ten to fifteen years, if ch”v Moshiach hasnt arrived by then? This Shul is a stunning piece of history and if it doesnt go up in popularity and membership, it will unfortunately go the other direction and go the way of Emanuel, with bulldozers, even if it isnt conservative like Emanuel. I dont claim to be G-d or a prophet, but thats the way I see it. That would be a crime.October 24, 2011 2:18 am at 2:18 am #822261
Mods: “AbeEsq” left an inappropriate comment above.October 24, 2011 2:23 am at 2:23 am #822262
“but what do you predict the membership will look and feel like in ten to fifteen years, if ch”v Moshiach hasnt arrived by then?”
whatever hashem decidesOctober 24, 2011 2:50 am at 2:50 am #822263
I don’t think the shul would be able to be knocked down if they tried. I am almost positive that the shul is a landmark. if the shul is so important to you, anonymous become a member.October 24, 2011 3:02 am at 3:02 am #822264
foodie, I am almost positive that the shul is a landmark.
So was Emanuel! People with connections and money have their way. Emanuel was blown apart in a day, to get to it before the landmark people could get wind of the plan. Now its a glorious eye-sore of a parking lot!October 24, 2011 4:00 am at 4:00 am #822265
soleik and anonymous
Your ideas and points are well taken.
Now that the long nights are almost upon us, perhaps you have an OPEN FORUM one evening where all who are concerned could come and discuss their concerns about this lovely shul and perhaps some kind of decision or direction could be determined and tried to make this shul more vibrant.
About the shul Chas V’Shalom being knocked down, i am starting to remember other that were knocked down and forgotten along with Temple Emanual and Eitz Chaim Yeshiva.
Another thought/question of mine is how is Shomrei Emunah doing with this community change?October 24, 2011 4:22 am at 4:22 am #822266
Shomrei Emunah’s Rov, Rabbi Pollak moved to Lakewood, and a well known Talmid Chacham/Balebos took over as Rov. Not sure about the membership growth. Unless there’s newsorthy/major change/excitement, new members dont pop out of the woodwoork.
Not sure what the answer is, but many twentysomethings/thirtysomethings/ fortysomethings/fiftysomethings in BP, who arent the typical straightlaced Chassidish types, and yet are still happily religious, need somewhere a little different than all the Chassidish minyanim present in BP, to fill the void.October 24, 2011 5:30 am at 5:30 am #822267commonsenseParticipant
i have relatives that have been davening there since they joined with Young Israel. They are very devoted to the shul and to the Rabbi. Although you may think you have a better use for the shul I think the regular mispallim would highly disagree with you and be very upset with your suggestions. You might think that it is a shame that it is empty and you have a better idea, but most of the people who are members are old time boro parkers from before boro park was so chassidish and this is a little bastion of their lives from the past. I do not think they are looking to be taken over by people who want to change them. Also they are very happy with their current Rabbi.October 24, 2011 5:31 am at 5:31 am #822268Boro Park MenschParticipant
I am a member of Young Israel–Beth El of Borough Park. (Please get the name straight.) I was one of Young Israel’s representatives on the committee that merged the two shuls.
Anonymous, if we need your advice, we’ll ask for it.
Foodie, you said, “If you don’t attend the shul on a regular basis it is not your call to make on how to change it.” Actually, if you are not a dues-paying member, you have no say.
For my own part, while I appreciate that people want to hear or chazzan, keep in mind, that WE are paying for him to sing. If you come to listen, especially if you take a seat, a little tzedakah wouldn’t hurt.
And by the way, especially, if you don’t like us or our style of davening, please don’t disrespect our shul. On Shemini Atzeret ma’ariv, to site a recent example, I was sitting alone, trying to concentrate on the davening but a shtreimel-clad man came in with his two children to, I guess, show them OUR shul. First, don’t do that in the middle of davening. Have the DECENCY to wait until the end. Also, please do not talk during your self-guided tour. You are disturbing my davening which is why I came to my shul.
Moderator, please stun me by allowing this to be posted.October 24, 2011 5:56 am at 5:56 am #822269
emanuel and bethel are NOT landmarks
MS. Critique your idea is not a bad one and ill pass it on to the rav. that would be an interesting meeting to attend. i dont think its been done before.
when rav pollak left shomrei emuna and rav cohen took over, for a few weeks they were thinking of forcing the demographic to change. one of teh gabbaim was even considering paying yeshiva bochurim to daven there just to drive in a new crowd. they were going to remove the pews and replace them with tables and chairs. TBH i was disgusted with the idea as were quite a few others and almost all the members of the shul. its a TINY minyan, upstairs in shomrei emuna but it fills a niche that would not be filled if it was a shool for bachurim and im glad that that particular plan fell through.
in my opinion the only way to change the dem,mographic of a shul is if the members agree or if the shul sells. it cant be something forced upon them. how is that right? how is it right that a shul just throws out everything its mispallelim are used to and, in effect, “sells out” just to get more numbers? its so wrong! when shomrei was considering it i was actually considering davening there if i would get paid….but now that i think about it it would have been a disgusting arrangement.October 24, 2011 10:30 am at 10:30 am #822270600 Kilo BearMember
Actually, if BP does need another type of shul, why DAVKA does it have to take over the building of an existing one? Most alternative shuls start in basements or homes and then move on to properties of their own.
Someone probably should start an alternative shul in BP – and fast. But even if Beth El were available, it would be far too much for a new shul to handle.
On the other hand, if Beth El (which I don’t remember at all – my connection with Boro Park was mostly Sunday shopping) is practically empty, renting space to an alternative minyan might be a good idea for it to keep itself going.
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