Review By Jewishly:
Shir Hamaalot is an independent minyan located in Brooklyn that meets monthly inside Union Temple. I visited this independent minyan on an off day. The electricity wasn’t working well in the building so they met inside the main shul instead of in their normal space. While I was there, I offered multiple times to help them since things seemed to be in disarray due to the late start time and change of venue. I kept being told, “I don’t know what you can do,” or, “I’m not the person in charge tonight.” This was discouraging.
Services were lead by a female drum circle the week I was there which was pretty cool. They were a little off-beat and so as they sang and played the community had a hard time keeping up with them. Services started about an hour late. It took about 45 minutes to get through the first four hymns of the evening. While I really appreciate taking the time to get into the Shabbat mood after starting 1 hour late, taking 45 minutes to get through a section that generally takes 15-20 minutes, I have to admit I started to lose my patience. There was also a lot of talking about politics and personal points of views with regards to anti-semitism which took away from the spirituality of the evening. I had also waited months in order to attend services here because I had heard such great things and was disappointed by how chaotic it was. The chaos, lack of leadership, and personal perspectives being projected onto Shabbat made it hard for me to connect spiritually.
I think what is clear about this community is that they are passionate and dedicated. What I think is also clear about this community is that they do not have a leadership structure. There isn’t a person or a group of people who are in charge and there are not standards for start times, leading services, and organizing services. I can tell that this community is very passionate and heartfelt about what they do but I think adding in some structure will take the burden off the few and spread it out and make things more predictable and easier to manage. It will also give people attending services areas they can volunteer for and roles that are clear cut and easy to fill.
419 E 77th St
New York, NY 10075