Current Events, Judaism

Moving the Shul, Pt. 1 – “Unloading and Seating”

This post is a little overdue so I’ll summarize as much as possible in this post. I was actually gonna make it a daily update, but knowing my inconsistencies, we’ll make it weekly.

Two sundays (March 1) ago, my synagogue – the Westmount Community Shul in Thornhill moved to a new location. Before the move, the shul could be found in two places. On Shabbos morning and Friday night for Kabbalat Shabbat, we were @ the Westmount high school (hence the name). On weekdays and shalosh seudos, the shul made it’s home in a little space in a plaza off of Centre Street (for those from Thornhill, you know where that is) behind the No Frills supermarket and the Beer Store. Yes, the Beer Store. How would you tell someone to get to our shul/learning centre? “It’s behind the Beer Store.”

No any more. The new location, is on Disera Drive, a new street, which houses the plaza behind the new massive Wal – Mart on Centre Street. Our Shul, although still uses the high school on shabbos mornings (to accommodate for kids programs, alternative classes etc.), has finally found a location more accessible to the greater Jewish community of Thornhill.

Now there is one catch. Two if you include my little “” rant that’ll go into later. The facility isn’t entirely ready… the main part: the ginormous and spacious Beis Medrash is still under repairs. So for now we’re using what should be the fireside lounge (aka my office and workplace, which I’ll never leave once it’s formatted that way – also because of free WIFI and Starbucks just downstairs!!) as the main prayer room. It’s a little cramped but it’s still mighty beautiful and better than what we had before.

Which leads me to my rant…. Over the years, our shul has grown, but as new people come, there of course remains those who’ve been there over time – aka the people who their own “seats” and personalized shtenders (with built-in initials). Now bear in mind, these members are there everyday and rightfully deserve their areas. My dad is one of those lucky members, whose got his spot in the back corner with his shtender.

But that was in the old building….

With the exception of the two rabbis and a select group of shul members, everyone has started anew. No one has their own place anymore! Any spot is up for grabs! And now, let us observe grown men scramble for position….

Okay maybe it wasn’t like that, but knowing that it would be probably not till Passover till the big Beis Medrash is ready, and with a small temporary area doing the job, seats, let alone your own makom, are @ a premium.So let’s do some play-by-play.

It’s the first davening, and I’ve got my eye on a chair. But so do 4 other people. We all surround the chair. It’s a game of holier than thou…. but no one wants to be the one who takes the chair and figuratively say “yeah, i’m sitting here and your not…

Finally someone takes the seat for Tachanun who happens to be someone older, who probably needs it more than anyone else. No worries. That’s where I grab the open standing spot right in front of the bima. No I don’t have to hold on my siddur when davening (what a luxury!)

It’s now the second davening, and there’s a seat right in front of me, which I began saying Ashrei in, but once after standing up for Kadesh before Shmoneh Esrei, someone promptly walks in and feels the need to plop their jacket on my seat. Now since there’s also a new coat rack (something we didn’t have @ the old place) I can understand the unfamiliarity of not putting up you’re coat (oh really?) but I was just sitting there, and I’m standing up in front of it, with my siddur placed beside it…

You know, I can see why people make such a big deal over their makom. Hey I do too. Up until a year ago, I wasn’t a everyday regular @ my shul, and now that I am I like to know that I have a place in my shul and people won’t go near it. Then there’s that natural male possessive trait… but seriously, imagine walking in (if your late and it’s not the obvious that the space is yours, tough luck) and someones in your seat, boy does that throw you off…

After a week, I’ve actually found a vicinity (a new form of makom!) that I frequent for prayer. I actually like it cause, there’s actually a little space around it so now I don’t have to stay in position. i can walk around a little bit, look outside the door, shmooze if I feel like it, I’m even sitting beside one of my better friends in shul, who’s more closer to my age than others. But for the most part, We’re all mature adults who won’t bicker over seats. Some get em some don’t. Life goes on. Eventually they’ll be a bigger area, and that’s where the fun will begin…

There goes Part One of Operation New Shul Building (operation sounded nice). Next week We’ll discuss kitchens, classroooms, fancy washing stations, washroom codes and other fun stuff a new building brings along the way. Maybe I’ll post some pictures too while I’m at it.


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