Why do people come to weekday minyan? They must get something from the experience.
1. Minyan becomes a group of your friends, eventually an extended family. You may be a stranger the first time you arrive, but you will not be a stranger when you leave. If you arrive before prayers start at 7AM, a number of conversations will be in progress all at the same time. Join one. We discuss nearly everything. Our people develop social connections and laugh and cry together. We enhance each other’s joys and lighten each other’s burdens.
2. When someone gives you something, especially a gift, it is proper and polite to thank that person. GOD gives us life, loves, family and blessings. Every day we thank GOD through our prayers. We appreciate the happiness and blessings that we have in this country, that many people in the rest of the world can only dream about. Certainly, we owe GOD our thanks.
3. Current statistics show that about 50% of our children will marry out of our religion. When we drop a child off at Hebrew school, at services, at a friend’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah and do not join our child, we are saying to that child that religion is for children, not for adults. On the other hand when we attend minyan, we are demonstrating that Judaism is a life long commitment. Demonstration is a much louder message. The next generation is more likely to follow your actions, than your words.
4. Prayer is similar to meditation for many people. Meditation lowers blood pressure, relaxes the person and focuses the person on the tasks ahead for that day. That is a good way to start each day.
5. Every year our minyan helps people in our community and other communities by donating to charity. The charity box is in the back of the chapel, so whether or not you donate, or the amount, is a private matter, known only to you. During 2016 we donated money to 22 different charities for a total sum of $4,890. The accounting is available for inspection in the back of the chapel, usually during the last financial quarter of the year, or at any other time you ask.
If you are uncomfortable because you cannot read Hebrew, do not know very much Hebrew, cannot follow the prayers or do not know much about Judaism, we will do our best to help. Nothing is demanded of any member unless that person volunteers. Whether you attend one day a month or more, you will always be welcome. Start slowly. Do not jump in with both feet. Please do not sit alone in the back; sit next to someone who will guide you. Your neighbor can show you the prayer for putting on the talit, if you wish. If you would like to learn how to wrap tefillin, many people will be happy to teach you. Ours is an egalitarian minyan. Any man or woman can wear a talit, wrap tefillin, wear a kippa, lead prayers or read Torah or just doze. One person in our minyan who could not read any Hebrew at first, learned Hebrew and now reads Torah. If you will it, you can accomplish it.
If you are interested in learning more, primers are available in a file. A few are printed and may be found at the entrance to the sanctuary or in the back of the chapel. If you would like a primer, it is available HERE.