Shiva minyan with an indie minyan

We always hear that one of the disastrous things about indie minyanim is that they will be unable to deal with life cycle events.

Yet this morning there was an email waiting for me that was sent out to the entire list of an indie minyan to organize shiva for one of the organizers; his father just passed away.

Just saying.

Filed under Independent Minyanim

9 Responses to “Shiva minyan with an indie minyan”

  1. This is one of the many strawmen we’ve been hearing about years, and for as many years as I’ve been able to find these critiques, I’ve known at least five minyanim and two cities to do just that.


    Ruby K · October 4th, 2011 at 10:56 am
  2. (correction… five minyanim IN two cities)


    Ruby K · October 4th, 2011 at 10:57 am
  3. In my experience in the world of the institutional synagogue, the congregation per se plays a neglgible role, if any, in the organization of the shiva, that normally being taken care of by the friends and family of the bereaved. The synagogue may provide a venue for the funeral service itself, an introduction to a funeral director, and logistical support vis a vis participation of the clergy at the funeral service and at a shiva minyan the first night.

    Ergo, I see the “straw man” here as unnecessarily defending the long-term viability of indie minyanim on the basis that they can and do rally for shiva. I would be much more interested in learning about their role in the arrangements for and conduct of the funeral.


    Larry Kaufman · October 4th, 2011 at 12:05 pm
  4. I would be much more interested in learning about their role in the arrangements for and conduct of the funeral.

    If there are Jewish funeral homes and cemeteries, why do you need a synagogue/minyan for the funeral?


    BZ · October 4th, 2011 at 2:44 pm
  5. If there are Jewish funeral homes and cemeteries, why do you need a synagogue/minyan for the funeral?

    You don’t. But any Jewish funeral director will tell you that most of the direct calls (i.e., not involving a synagogue) are from unaffiliated Jews who count on the funeral establishment to deliver a rabbi.

    Yes, I know as well as you do that a Jewish funeral does not require a rabbi. The 2% of the non-synagogue-affiliated Jews who are part of the indie minyan community may not need a rabbi, and some number among that other 98% may not want a rabbi (although it would be interesting to know if and why they still call a Jewish funeral home).

    Yes, I am aware that I am conflating the rabbi and the institutional synagogue — and I’m sure the funeral home has its roster of free-lancers to call, along with available employed clergy. None of this in any way causes me to rethink my original judgment that DAMW’s post does nothing to demonstrate that indie minyans can supply all the religious needs of their members. Nor am I saying that that they can’t — only that this anecdote proves nothing.


    Larry Kaufman · October 4th, 2011 at 8:40 pm
  6. Larry, no one here is claiming that indie minyans can provide everything a Jew will ever need. See BZ’s post here from a while back which is still the best argument to that point I’ve seen:

    Independent minyanim are very openly a-la-carte, intended to function as part of the larger Jewish ecosystem. They focus on the areas where they have a comparative advantage, and let other organizations do the rest. No minyan claims to be an island. This is in contrast to many synagogues, which do attempt to be one-stop shops for everything Jewish, regardless of whether they’re any good at it.


    renaissanceboy · October 5th, 2011 at 12:27 am
  7. @renaissanceboy

    My point exactly. DAMW was over-zealous in implying that,because an indie minyan was able to deal with one aspect of a life cycle event, indie minyanim should no longer be criticized for not being able to cope with life cycle events. (Maybe he didn’t so imply, and I only so inferred.)


    Larry Kaufman · October 5th, 2011 at 6:51 pm
  8. On the one hand, I think it is quite silly to criticize independent minyanim for not fulfilling all life-cycle events. They don’t have to be important parts of modern Judaism. (Though the general distain in the independent minyan literature for the old-style synagogue can also be a bit over the top).

    On the other hand a shiva minyan for an organizer is not the same as say a yortseit minyan for a once-a-month attender. People in a community give back to organizers in a way that they don’t necessarily give to loosely- affiliated members. But a shul would have a minyan for such a person.

    On an aside my husband, who wishes to say say kaddish for his parents twice a year (morning and evening on those days), cannot find an egalitarian daily minyan less than a 45 min. drive from our downtown Toronto home. The dynamic of independent minyan and shul might be different those of us not lucky enough to live in those two special cities. (There are independent minyanim here in Toronto who would make shiva minyanim for their members but that doesn’t help my husband’s problem.


    Rainbow Tallit Baby · October 6th, 2011 at 1:42 pm
  9. That is wonderful that WHOEVER is meeting the needs for a daily minyan for a mourner is doing so! Difficult but so worthwhile. Is your minyna able to meet once a day or twice a day? (some mourners divide their morning and evening kaddish between two places for the year of mourning–even being able to provide one of those two is a good thing).


    rosel · November 7th, 2011 at 8:51 am

Leave a Reply

If your comment does not immediately appear, do not freak out and repost your message a dozen times. Please note that all new visitors must have their first comment approved by the editor, and you must provide a legitimate e-mail address and use the same username for the system to "remember" you. The editor maintains the right to refuse comments deemed inappropriate or unhelpful. Users who repeatedly delve into ad hominem attacks or other troll-like behavior will be banned.

Trackback (Right-click & 'Copy Link...') | Comments RSS

"I may attack a certain point of view which I consider false, but I will never attack a person who preaches it. I have always a high regard for the individual who is honest and moral, even when I am not in agreement with him. Such a relation is in accord with the concept of kavod habriyot, for beloved is man for he is created in the image of God." —Rav Joseph Soloveitchik