Morning Minyan 2: “Not instead of me but beside me”

Categories: 100 Reasons, Community Voices

Milt Wolf:  Back around 1978 I used to go to minyan downtown or in Squirrel Hill, and Sam Balk told me that Beth El was just starting their minyans up again.  So that’s when I started going to the minyan at Beth El.  I was not a member yet. Now I’m a dual member at Beth El and Temple Emanuel, and coming to minyan is like the greatest way to get up in the morning.  There is nothing like the morning minyan!

Sam and I grew up together in Squirrel Hill.  We both went to Chovitz Chai at the bottom of Beacon Street.  It’s now the parking lot of the Giant Eagle on Murray Avenue.  We have some funny stories from those days. The kosher butcher on Murray Avenue, Mr. Horovitz, was the self-imposed shammas at the shul. The ladies would be upstairs—this is an Orthodox shul—and the service would be going on and the ladies would be upstairs talking. He would clap his hands and say “Ladies! Ladies! Schvey! Schvey!” The more the women would murmur the louder Mr Horowitz would shout until finally he’d say “Listen to the meaningless prayers!”  Sam and I still laugh at that.

Jerry Rosenfeld:  I was the Assistant Treasurer when they voted on whether women should be counted in the minyan. It was a big debate.  Rabbi Steindel wouldn’t commit one way or the other. Sam was the president. This was in the 80’s. There were some heated discussions, but I looked around and saw Bernice Hoffman and a lot of people who were a lot more knowledgeable than I was.  I thought why shouldn’t they be doing it—not instead of me but beside me.  At that point it was voted on and decided that women should be counted.  Later—I wasn’t there but I understand that there was a minyan and Bernice Hoffman was there and one of the people said that if she’s counted I’m leaving. And the answer was, “Well, she’s here to read the Torah!”  So he stayed.

100 Reasons is a new blog series featuring members of our diverse and delightful congregational family.  We are celebrating Beth El’s 100th anniversary this year with 100 stories, 100 memories, 100 reasons to join us! If you would like to add your story or memory to the blog, please contact email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone

Donate to a Fund

Honor or Remember a Loved One with a Donation!

Recent blog posts

Blessings and Milkshakes

Blessings are like a stop sign to remind us to slow down and thank God.  Throughout the year in Bshul (cooking class) students have learned the blessings for every food group.  I introduced the hand-washing blessing, Yadiim, and repeat it at the beginning of every cooking lesson.  This keeps us holy and sanitary! For Shabbat…

Read More
Read more

Jenna’s Squad Gets Crafty

Jenna’s Squad got crafty this month!  First they decorated triangle-shaped Rice Krispie Treats for a gluten-free mishloach manot treat (see directions below.)  Then they decorated masks with feathers and gems.   This 7th grade group of girls is all ready for Purim! Ingredients Homemade Rice Krispie Treats cut into triangles Lollipop sticks 15 oz bar of…

Read More
Read more

Pareve Hamantaschen Recipe

In Bshul our students learn the basics about kashrut.  Foods such as vegetables, fruit, grains, nuts and fish are considered pareve or neutral.  When baking sweets for a chicken Dinner on Shabbat, margarine or oil is used to keep dairy and meat separate.  My friend Ilene uses Crisco for baking, insisting it makes her pareve…

Read More
Read more