By Shmuel Aberman
I will never forget my first time going to the Beren campus for Shabbos to help make the minyan for the women on their campus. Last year, at the end of the semester, three students from the Wilf campus, including myself, went to the Beren campus to help make the minyan for the first time since Covid broke out. The remaining members of the minyan are rabbeim or staff members who are on the Beren campus for shabbos.
As a student who was in his first year on campus, I came in knowing very few of my fellow students, and going to the Beren campus was an excellent way for me to meet new people I otherwise would not have met. While taking many classes due to the dual curriculum here at YU and not having a lot of free time during the week, it was a breath of fresh air to be able to meet new people and have a relaxing Shabbos with all my Shabbos needs taken care of.
While being a Minyan man, your only real responsibility is to contribute to a quorum of ten men necessary for davening and attending all of the minyanim [prayer services]. For meals, we were given a place to eat with the rest of the Minyan men separate from the women in a designated room, brought to you by the amazing waitstaff.
This year the Minyan men program has expanded the number of students who are able to go to the Beren campus to make the minyan. The Minyan men program is no longer something where there are two or three students who complete the minyan. Instead, we are used to make up the minyan, with closer to seven or eight other students (varying on a weekly basis) to be the main group of the minyan, the rest being Rabbis or Rabbi’s kids. With the additional students who are now able to stay downtown, it makes Shabbos that much more enjoyable. During davening and the meals, we are able to sing our zemiros and tefillos in a much louder and fuller group.
As opposed to last year, one huge change has been the sleeping accommodations. Although last year and in years past, YU has paid for the Minyan men to stay in a hotel a few blocks from where we daven, this year the Minyan men have been staying in the Schottenstein dorms.
In return for one making the minyan, we are given a place to sleep in the Schottenstein dorms with linens already on the beds and a room within to sleep. However, you still need to bring your own towels and soaps if you want to shower in the Schottenstein dorms. Each of us gets our own room and some weeks we even get a bag filled with the Shabbos schedule and snacks. During Shabbos, there are many amazing programming opportunities and shiurim [lectures] available to attend. Some highlights going to Beren campus for Shabbos include the amazing shiurim given by the rabbeim, with the shiurim being much more engaging and discussion-based compared to the shiurim given at Wilf campus. Another highlight of my shabbosim at the Beren campus is all the people I have met and become friends with Beren campus, besides being a great place to meet people, it is a great place to go sightseeing. Going on Shabbos walks through the city past the Empire State Building, walking by Rockefeller Center, and pre-shabbos trips to Krispy Kreme all add to the excitement that going to Beren campus for Shabbos brings. As someone who has been a Minyan man for many weeks throughout the past year, I highly recommend others to try it out and go to the Beren campus for a shabbos. Not only is it an opportunity for you to get out of the boring routine of the week, but it’s also an excellent opportunity to meet new people. In addition, it gives you the ability to see the impact you make on the shabbos environment at the Beren campus.