Davening in Modiin

This is going to be a really long post but I'll try to break it into sections. I have been meaning to post for a while about the shul situation in Modiin but I knew that it would take a while so I just haven't had a chance. Nothing like a good US national holiday to get this kind of stuff out of the way.

What shuls currently exist in Modiin?
I had mentioned a while ago that there isn't even a shul in my neighborhood. That doesn't mean that there aren't minyanim but there just aren't any shul buildings. Supposedly when the city was being built about 15 years ago, the original planners were anti-religious and intended for the city to not be a religious city at all. The "problem" was that the location is amazing (20 miles from Tel Aviv and Yerushalayim) and that they did a pretty good job planning the city so it's pretty (many will disagree but there are definitely lots of parks). In some of the older neighborhoods there really aren't a lot of religious people but in our neighborhood, Buchman, there are lots and lots of religious (my guess is that it's over 75% religious). I think that in the entire Modiin there are only about 5 shul buildings and the closest one to my house is about a 20 minute walk.

I believe that the first Shabbos minyan in Buchman was at a gan. Then Daniel Billig (our landlord's son) started another minyan called Beit Knesset Buchman Asheknaz (BKA). It meets at an elementary school in the neighborhood (a ten minute walk from my house). That has become known in Buchman as the American shul. When we came two years ago for Shabbos and stayed at the Baks those were basically the only two minyanim here. Since then many minyanim have popped up in the city including one in the local yeshiva high school. In Buchman Darom (remember, we're right on the edge of Buchman Darom) there are no shul buildings so they started a hashkama minyan at someone's house. It got too crowded so it has since divided into two separate minyanim with a total of about 120 people on Shabbos morning.

Shabbos davening:
Friday night there are a lot of minyanim in houses but I haven't really enjoyed those minyanim much (too much Carlebach, not enough starting before shkia etc) so I've been going down to BKA on Friday night. I do like the Buchman Darom minyan on Shabbos morning though. The minyan is just down the block from my house and it starts at 7:15 and finishes by 9. Often when I come home Shira goes down to BKA for shul (the walk to shul is very easy but the walk back is up a steep hill). There is also a mincha minyan down the block outside the house which hosts the morning davening. I usually go there and then maariv motzei Shabbos is right across the street from there and we even occasionally have a minyan at the end of our driveway.

Daily Shacharis:
When we first came here, I davened at the Ulpana every morning at 6:30. It was a very fast minyan which didn't bother me but they often started shmona esrei even though half the minyan was still in psukei d'zimra. Then when slichos started, most minyanim didn't have slichos before shacharis but instead only had them at night. I found out that the yeshiva 5:45 minyan had slichos in the morning so I started davening there. I really liked that minyan. They were always done by 6:20 and went very fast but it was a big enough minyan that they didn't start shmone esrei without a minyan. I davened there for a while until two things happened: it started getting light later so it was still pitch black at 5:45 and the clocks in the US changed so I was finishing work later at night and it was harder to wake up earlier. Then I switched to the 6:20 minyan at the yeshiva. It's a pretty good minyan but is slower than the other two minyanim I used to attend.

Wherever you live and whatever you do, mincha is the hardest tfila to get with a minyan. It's no different here living in Modiin and working afternoon hours. It's almost impossible for me to get to a pre-shkia mincha because it's near the beginning of my workday and if I'm not working then I try to help with the kids' homework. So I was davening mincha at home for a while until I heard about a 1 PM mincha at the yeshiva. This has been working really well for me since I learn with Aryeh right after mincha at the yeshiva.

Weeknight maariv:
There may be no shul buildings yet in Buchman but there are hundreds of frum people who are home at night so there was an obvious need for maariv minyanim in the area. When I first moved here I knew about an 8:30 minyan at the yeshiva and a 9:30 minyan in a park about a 10 minute walk from my house (it's also a two minute drive and since I'm lazy and it was the middle of my workday I drove there). I tried the 8:30 minyan twice but they didn't have a minyan either time so I tried to go to the 9:30 minyan in the park when I didn't have a conference call at that time. Then more minyanim started popping up including one in the apartment complex right next door to us. That complex is all religious people and there are about 80 apartments but we struggle to get a minyan each night. A lot of people daven at work and others daven other places but it's still a little pathetic.

I assume not many people actually read the entire post but I just wanted to get this posted so we'll have it for our book at the end of the year.


Anonymous said...

Re: maariv, the minyan by 22 Yosef has been pretty consistent now for the last few weeks. Yeah, I know, 50 meters is a lot to walk, but you could always drive...

- Aryeh

SaraK said...

I love Modiin, but the lack of proper Beit Knesset is my beef with it. When I visit my aunt & uncle, I really do not enjoy davening in the Gan that serves as their shul.