Monday, November 24, 2008

Shuls in Buchman

Well, it looks like they have FINALLY started construction on the first shuls in Buchman, so I thought now would be a good time to take a look at the status of the congregations in Buchman.

First a quick tally - there are currently ZERO dedicated shul buildings in Buchman, you can count them on the thumbs of no hands. Given that there is a large religious community here (probably 40-60%, higher in Buchman Darom) the fact that no shuls have been built in the past 4 years since people moved into the neighborhood is inexcusable (I hope that mayor elect Chaim Bibis is reading this).

The closest thing that we have to a shul building is the Yeshiva High School, which has three Batei Midrash, all of which have neighborhood minyanim on Shabbat. There are also minyanim that meet in Ganim, private houses or literally on the street.

Following are some of the congregations currently trying to get permanent buildings built:

Lev Achim
This minyan currently davens in the large Beit Midrash in the Yeshiva, and has minyanim on Shabbat and during the week (they get over 200 people on a regular Shabbat). After several years of applications, they were finally given permission to build on the lot on the corner of Yehuda and Yissachar. They had an official ground breaking ceremony a few weeks ago, and when I drove past the other day I saw that they have cleared the land so construction can begin.
They were originally supposed to be in their building by last Pessach - I don't think that they made it, maybe by Rosh Hashana?
(Photo is of Rabbi Lay speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony)

Klal Yisrael South (AKA Klal Yisrael Permanent)
Only Jews could create a minyan called "Klal Yisrael" and then before they even get their building split into 2 - however this was a necessary to accommodate the growing religious population in Buchman Darom.
Klal Yisrael South currently davens in people's home - every Shabbat they cram 100+ people into someone's living rooms (and houses aren't that big here).
For the Chagim they errected a large tent.
During the week they have Ma'ariv in the park at the end of Shlomtzion Hamalka.
They haven't yet started their building, but I believe that they have land on Rivka Eimainu - IY"H next year there will be Ganim in the area so that they will have a temporary solution.

Klal Yisrael Merkaz (AKA Klal Yisrael Mishav)
This minyan was also rotating between houses on Shabbatot, although for the past few weeks they have settled in a temporary location - the covered parking lot behind Ester Hamalka 40. Be interesting to see what that parking area is like if we have a wet Shabbat.
During the week they have Ma'ariv in the parking lot of the Mishav project.
This is one of three shuls that are supposed to be building on the lot on the corner of Ester Hamalka and Efrayim. They are supposed to start construction this month - we'll see how it goes.
There original target date was to have the building finished by last Rosh Hashana, I don't think that they made it - let's hope for next Rosh Hashana.

This minyan currently davens in the ganim at the end of Benyamin. It is an interesting minyan - both Ashkenaz and Sfaradi; they alternate each Tfilla, for example ShacharitNussach Sfard, Mussaf Eidot Hamizrach.
They are also building at the plot on the corner of Ester Hamalka and Efrayim, they were supposed to be the first shul built there, they cleared the land several months ago, but so far no construction has started.

Shivtei Yisrael
This minyan used to daven in Gan Tavor on Binyamin but for the Chagim they moved into a Beit Midrash downstairs in the Yeshiva, where they still daven on Shabbatot.
They have raised money to build on an empty plot behind Gan Tavor, but (surprise!) there is a neighbor that objects to the building which has held up the process (not sure how long but at least 6 months, and still not resolved).
I spoke to one of the Gabai'im who told me that he spoke to the neighbor leading the charge against the shul, but was unable to reach a compromise because the person was unable to articulate a reason that he objected to the shul - I guess that a good reason would make it to easy to negate.

Adir B'marom
They currently meet in a Gan on the corner of Shimon and Dan. Like all the other minyanim, the gan is too small for their current needs. They are trying to get permission to build a shul on top of the ganim, but (surprise again), neighbors are objecting.
Not sure where they stand in terms of their battle, but from what I gather they have a while to go....

Buchman Ashkenat (AKA "BKA" or "The American Minyan")
This is the only "Nussach Ashkenaz" minyan in the city, also one of the few minyanim to have its own Rabbi (Harav Sobol).
They have plans to build quite a large building on the corner of Ester Hamalka and Efrayim, the third and biggest shul on that plot, and construction started this week.
From what I understand, the construction process will take years.

Moreshet Sfard
This minyan currently meets in Ester Hamallka 21. The house is rented out to the minyan and they have minyaim there on both Shabbatot on Weekdays - last week they added a Mincha/Maariv minyan to their weekday schedule.
Although they have plans to build from what I understand they are still at the beginning of the approval process.

So there you have it - eight minyaim without proper facilities trying to build buildings, but each one with long delays.

IY"H our eldest will be celebrating his Bar Mitzva in just over a year, I really hope that by then there is at least one shul somewhere in the neighbourhood.

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