By Fruma Landa, News Editor
On Friday, February 7th, Beren Campus Rabbi Jacob Bernstein announced via campus WhatsApp groups and sstuds, that there will be a weekly Shachris minyan scheduled to take place Tuesday mornings on the Beren Campus. Currently, there is a weekly Shabbat minyan on campus and an occasional weekday minyan on Rosh Chodesh and other special occasions, but a set weekday minyan is rare.
The new Tuesday morning minyan on the Beren Campus provides opportunities and advantages previously unavailable to Beren Campus students. Rabbi Yisroel Meir Rosenzweig, Av Bayit of the Beren Campus, expressed, “The new Tuesday [m]orning minyan being held on the Beren Campus is an exciting new development for the student body. Having the opportunity to pray with a minyan and respond to kadish and kedushah is no small matter, to do so […] as a community of peers striving for a common goal is surely even greater. It is worth noting that several faculty members have joined the minyan, as have rabbinic leaders, including R’ Yosef Blau.”
Rabbi Yosef Blau, Senior Mashgiach Ruchani of RIETS, who has participated in previous minyanim on Beren and intends to participate in future minyanim, echoes Rabbi Rosenzweig’s sentiment: “Any opportunity for Stern students to attend a minyan and to say קדושה, ברכו and answer היא שמיה רבה in קדיש is a positive development. Hopefully as the existence of the minyan becomes better known increased numbers will participate.”
Rabbi Bernstein emphasized the communal impact tefillah b’tzibur (communal prayer) has on the Beren Campus. “We have found that many students show up to campus tefillah b’tzibur when the opportunity presents itself. While students may be davening independently, coming together with a minyan creates a weekly experience of a community engaged in serving Hashem. To us, the numbers speak for themselves and we are so grateful to all our partners involved in making this happen, including the minyan men who travel across the city in time for the [m]inyan.”
Similarly, Leora Moskowitz, SCW ‘21, the president of the Beit Midrash Committee, commented to the YU Observer, “Waking up early and coming together for a [S]hacharit minyan will foster a strong Torah community among the women on Beren Campus.”
The new Tuesday minyan is taking place after many previous failed attempts to establish a weekday minyan on campus. Earlier this year, Moskowitz and Fruma Landa, SCW ’21, the minyan man coordinator of the Shabbat Enhancement Committee, attempted to organize a weekday minyan. They sent out emails with a Google form to faculty members who they thought would be interested in making a Shachris minyan on the Beren Campus. Five men responded that they were interested in making a Tuesday morning minyan. They had difficulties finding more men and put the initiative on hold.
After witnessing the success of other minyanim on campus and receiving multiple requests from students for a consistent weekday minyan, Rabbi Bernstein commented to the YU Observer, “We decided to start with the one day we knew we’d have most faculty involvement, beginning with Tuesday morning. This is a small step in the right direction of more consistent minyanim on campus to enhance our communities engagement with tefillah and avodat Hashem.”
The first of the weekly Tuesday minyanim took place on Tuesday, February 11th. The minyan took place in the beit midrash on the 7th floor of Stanton Hall and began at approximately 8:05 a.m. The minyan of men consisted of a combination of Yeshiva University faculty members and Wilf Campus students. Approximately 45 women from the Beren Campus davened [prayed] with this minyan. The Office of Student Life (OSL) is funding the transportation costs of the Wilf students who are travelling to and from the Beren Campus.
Zack Orenshein, YC ‘20, a minyan participant, offered the YU Observer a glimpse as to why he is willing to travel to the Beren Campus to contribute to the minyan: “I enjoy the warm atmosphere of the Stern [beit midrash]. I find davening there uplifting whether it is Shabbos, Rosh Chodesh, or a regular Tuesday.”
Adina Bruce, SCW ‘22, and others in her Advanced Talmud class, utilize the beit midrash from 8:00 a.m. until shiur begins at approximately 9:00 a.m. The minyan in the beit midrash poses a problem for them. “I am very grateful for the people who have worked hard to put together a minyan,” commented Bruce to the YU Observer. “However, this has proved to be a challenge for those who have morning seder, both because of the use of the beit midrash during the time allotted to morning seder, and distractions before and after… [since] the beit midrash has to be set up or reconfigured.”
Rabbi Rosenzweig noted, “We owe a debt of gratitude to all the students from both campuses involved in making this minyan a reality and to R’ Bernstein for his part in organizing it on a weekly basis. I look forward to joining in future weeks to help strengthen the initiative!”
Photo: Beren Campus Beit Midrash, Stanton Hall