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Rabbi Ari Ellis


By Rhonda Spivak

Winnipeg’s largest orthodox synagogue, Herzylia Adas Yeshurun synagogue in the south end of the city no longer has a stable minyan, and the south end Chabad-Lubavitch also doesn’t have one.

Haskel Greenfield, who lost his father this past December, says that there were quite a number of days where he attended Herzlia synagogue to say kaddish but it did not have the ten men required for a minyan.

Greenfield told the
Winnipeg Jewish Review that, “Some days we can get a minyan, and other days we can’t. When my mother died six years ago, there was a minyan at Herzlia every day. But that is no longer the case now.”
According to Rabbi Ellis of Herzlia, which has a membership “of between 80 to 100 units, families and singles” there are days where the synagogue does not get a daily morning or evening minyan.

“The minyan is not stable enough. Especially in the winter when people go out of town we are not able to keep a daily minyan. We are generally able to get a minyan two to three days a week, in addition to Shabbat. It varies. Some days we get one, some days we don’t,” Ellis said.

Ellis also told the Winnipeg Jewish Review that this has been the situation for the “last year and a half” since he came to Winnipeg.

“I have considered whether we ought to go to a three day a week minyan, instead of a daily one. We would have it on Sunday, and Monday and Thursday, days when we read from the Torah, in addition, of course, to Shabbat. I know of shuls in London that have only a three day minyan. But I have been hesitant to do this, as once we were to go to a three day a week minyan, it would be pretty hard to ever go back to a daily minyan, ” Ellis added.

He also noted that he tries to “ encourage an interested person to make a commitment to do one thing a week, and at times I’d like them to consider coming to a Shabbat service or attending a class I lead, and if they rather do either of those things, attending a minyan won’t be their first priority.”

Rabbi Altein of Chabad-Lubavitch says that in the South End, Chabad-Lubavitch also does not have a daily minyan.

“We have one every shabbas and Sunday morning,” Altein said.

When he arrived to the city a year and a half ago, Ellis said he explored the idea of having members of his synagogue join with members of Chabad-Lubavitch in the south end to make a daily orthodox minyan viable.

“I have tried to work with Chabad in the south end to see if we could join together to ensure a daily minyan in the south end, which sometimes could be held at Herzlia and sometimes at Chabbad, but it hasn’t happened. It has been difficult to co-ordinate,” he said.

According to Altein , in the north end of the city, the Ashkenazi synagogue, Talmud Torah synagogue, and Chabad North have joined together in a “sharing” arrangement, to ensure a daily minyan.

“The Ashkenazi has minyans on weekday mornings but not on Shabbas. Talmud Torah has no minyans during the week, but has on shabbas. Chabad North has minyans in the evening and on shabbas,” said Altein.

“Chevurat T’filla in the North End of the city also is trying to maintain a daily minyan, but I just heard that they are also having difficulties,” said Ellis.

A version of this article has been published in the Canadian Jewish News.

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

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