Our Community, numbering some seventy families for whom the beis knesses serves as the center of their spiritual lives, is a true “kehillah” in the old-fashioned sense of the word. The atmosphere in the beis knesses is warm and friendly, and the families feel a deep sense of unity.
The strong feeling of unity that permeates Kehillas Ashkenaz is expressed at every opportunity. Care and concern for one another and helping out in times of joy as in times of sorrow are the cornerstones of our community.
The festive gatherings held on holidays, for a siyum, a family celebration or other special occasion, truly strengthen the bond between members.
Before the holidays, when family expenses are very great, special effort is invested to help the members of the community celebrate the chag with a happy heart. This is accomplished through the distribution of food products and coupons, made possible with the assistance of generous philanthropists. The kehillah also assists members in special circumstances – such as need due to wedding expenses, or, lehavdil, in times of crisis such as illness or bereavement – by alleviating their difficult financial burden.
Our women are fully active in the community. In 2014, the Shul’s Women’s Gallery was completed in splendor – with comfortable tiered seating, in order that women of all ages can feel part and parcel of the davening. One of the main projects of the Nashim Tzidkoniyos is to arrange food for Shabbos, Yom Tov or weekdays for families in need, whether after a birth or if a family member is hospitalized, and everyone joins in to prepare delicious and nourishing food, which is delivered to the door of those in need.
A group of scholars comprised of members of the congregation studies mishnayos in memory of the deceased whose family have contributed l’ilui nishmasam. During the year, this group completes all six sidrei mishnayos b’iyun.
If you are interested in having a minyan learning in the name of a loved one, please contact us and we will be happy to make an arrangement for you.
As being a fully-fledged community, the Chagim exude a special air of simcha– Succos, Pesach, Shavuos – with all the singing and achdus in the community, with the special highlight of Simchas Torah with a special seudah for the entire kehillah in honor of the completion of the Torah. The festival of Chanukah is an additional time that the congregants get together, joining together in communal prayers, singing Maoz Tzur as the lights of the menorah are glowing and . Hard to imagine the special atmosphere without experiencing it in person.
As a way of enhancing the communal feeling and sense of comradery of our members, the members go out together for a full-day trip, young and old, to see the beautiful landscapes of Israel – mountains and valleys, waterfalls and desert. The wonderful atmosphere of unity brought about by these trips … and the high spirits is remembered and cherished by every participant for a long time.
The unique community atmosphere is especially felt by the children. It is this extra attention to the younger generation, grounded in the rich Ashkenazi legacy, that has ensured the perpetuation of our unique heritage for hundreds of years, instilling in their young hearts a deep love of the mitzvos and the desire to fulfill them with joy and gladness. These concepts are so deeply ingrained in the children that they remain with them forever.
Each Friday night, the children line up behind the chazzan as he recites kiddush over a goblet of wine. This custom is based on the Talmud Yerushalmi, quoted in Ohr Zarua, “Why do we recite kiddush in the beis knesses? To confer merit on the children, who will wish to hear the brachah, recite Amen, and taste therefrom.”
Afterwards, the children file past the Rav, shlita, who blesses each one, following the time-honored tradition.
This is besides the active role played by the children in the various parts of the tefillah and activities of the beis knesses. For example, they are honored with mitzvos related to the Sefer Torah, such as kippul hamappah, glilah, eitz chaim, hoshatah and more. It gladdens the heart to watch a child on his third birthday bringing the “wimpel”, to be wound around the Sefer Torah.
Every Shabbos the fathers and sons get together for an uplifting learning session.
During the boys’ vacation, the community encourages them to continue their studies, reviewing what they have learnt in the past and preparing for the coming term. This takes place during the morning hours in our Beis HaMidrash, and they all receive a generous stipend according to the number of hours they each put in, to encourage them to make still further progress in their learning.
The community periodically arranges full-day trips for the youth with many fathers also participating, in high spirits and with lots of fun, including hiking, swimming, canoeing. A kumzitz with tasty meals enhances the event and nourishes the participants’ souls and feelings of comradery.