Thornhill Community-Wide Mincha/Maariv for 17th of Tammuz

Tonight, the members of five different community shuls in Thornhill came together at the Bayt for something rather different. (The fact that I said five shuls coming together is in itself different so you get what I mean…)

On the occasion of the 17th of Tammuz, the members of these shuls came together for a communal mincha/maariv davening at the Bayt. These shuls included the Bayt, Aish Thornhill Community Shul, Kollel Ohr Yosef – aka The Thornhill Community Kollel, Ateres Mordechai and the Westmount Shul & Learning Centre.

Not something you hear everyday in Thornhill. And therefore I documented it…

As we all know (as Thornhill Jews), the Bayt has been around forever. And with the exception of Chabad, the second and third of these five shuls only came around until I think it was 1995 and 1996 – Aish and Westmount respectively… yes, Westmount has been around since 1996. I know this because my family’s been members since then – when the high school itself first opened up – we were there. It was only until 2003, when Westmount broke off from Aish and became it’s own shul. As for Ateres Mordechai and the Kollel, it’s amazing that they’ve both only been around for maybe four years and that they’ve grown into such thriving shuls/communities.

And now enough of the history and the OMG this is happening rhetoric and here’s the observations of the events:

So when you walk into the main shul and face east, you see the bima and the seats for the big shots. On the very left was R’ Michalowicz from Westmount, who sat beside R’ Rothman from Aish, R’ Korobkin from the Bayt, R’ Bitterman from Ateres Mordechai and R’ Scheiner from the Kollel on the far right. I’ve been trying to think of a cute name for the this group seriously massive pillars of the community, but all I could come up with was The Chamisha Chumshei Thornhill. (yep… that was lame.)

(Unable to attend was Chabad. Because you know… it’s Chabad).

So my dad and I came early, figuring it would be packed (it was), but we managed to get seats in one of the middle rows on the right side just behind the bima. I brought my own siddur, cause you know… who can honestly find a siddur there? Let alone one you can follow properly… I mean imagine coming from Aish and sitting down and realizing all that’s available  is one of those all-hebrew israeli/yeshivish ones… or say you’re a kollel guy and you get an interlinear…you gotta be prepared.

So obviously, it’s a who’s who of people there. You pretty much know at least one person in each row. Which is pretty neat, albeit annoying cause there’s just too many people to say hello to!! (sarcastic oh no!) And when you take note of the entire room, you realize the diversity based on clothing and keepa types etc. (because that’s how we distinguish from one another as well as determine in our minds which of the shuls you go to,  if you don’t know them already).

It’s pretty impressive. Perhaps makes you think that people came just to see what it would look like… Not.

One observation: it was quiet during leining.

I know, I know… quiet during leining. At the Bayt!

I do need to remind myself that it is a fast day and people must be tired. Just some context.

Another observation: Only two cellphones went off the whole time. One was the Star Wars theme.

And there was someone there with tefillin on (and it wasn’t me).

So situated right in front of the video camera. R’ Korobkin comes to speak, emphasizing achdus and then giving way to R’ Michalowicz who would actually be the only rav speaking at this event. It got me wondering with all that talent, how do you get to be the speaker. Well R’ Michalowicz does have the longest tenure in Thornhill if that means anything, but who knows…  You can trust that the right decision was made.

Here’s a unorganized summary: 25 years down road and here’s the great growth of the Thornhill community; But what is unity amongst these sub-communities? -Answer by defining the opposite of achdus – machlokes (but in our case it’s on that endures nicely like with Hillel/Shamai) — it’s all a nice argument of flavors, but it’s all okay if they’re all in it for a higher common good. Is it all for G-d? We are different but are we all l’shem shomayim – and this is determined on asking your Rav for advice. But moreso asking the hard questions. And if not, therefore Judaism is to your convenience – and that’s bad.

Then came Maariv, followed by the abrupt, that’s all, time to go finish… and then the attempt to go downstairs orderly through the clastrophobia (through the back entrance). That was fun.

And then leaving the parking lot reminded of me of when I used to go to the drive-in and how it took you forever to leave.


Posted on July 8, 2012, in Aish Hatorah, Ashkenazim, Bayt, Clark Avenue, Thornhill and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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