Shabbos in Monsey and the Beis Medrification of Our Shuls

Last week, my wife an I had the pleasure of spending Shabbos with our friend Rabbi Label Lam and his family in Monsey. It afforded my the experience of davening in for different places.

On Friday night we davened at Ohr Somayach, the yeshiva for Baalei Teshuva. The new session hasn’t start yet and the huge beautiful Beis Medrash was less than half full. There was a wonderful Baalei Tefillah who’s voice filled the room with a traditional Ashkenaz Kabbalos Shabbos and Maariv.

On Shabbos, morning we davened in a local shul in a house basement which was started over 28 years ago. It’s a small minyan, supplemented this Shabbos by a number of yeshiva boys who were still home. It was nice to see that there was a Dvar Torah delivered. The Shul had tables and most of those there were learning when they weren’t davening.

For Mincha, we went to a local Chassidish Shteible which is about 8 years old. Before Mincha the Shul was packed with men and children learning Torah.

For Maariv we went to a big Ashkenaz Shul furnished with tables and filled with seforim.

What struck me was the tables and the preeminence of learning in all the Shuls. This focus should be of no surprise in Monsey which is a big Yeshivish and Chasidish learning oriented community. But the trend of Beis Medrification is sweeping Shuls all over the United States.

We’ll examine this trend next week and look at both its positive and potential negative effects.