My wife and I had the pleasure of spending Shabbos with friends who moved from Kew Gardens Hills to Lawrence almost 20 years ago. During the course of the Shabbos I spend some time with two other friends who also made that move at about the same time. Although I do see all of them from time to time at weddings and other venues, it was nice to spend some time with them in their neighborhood.
One of the striking things about Lawrence is the number of great Shuls there and across Route 878 in Far Rockaway. The number of great choices is growing. On Friday night we davened at a newer Shul which has gone from a house Shul to a beautifully renovated 180 men’s seat Shul in a few years. The quietness and slowness of the davening was the right complement to the tasteful and comfortable Shul interior.
The Shabbos morning davening at an older established Shul was the highlight of the Shabbos davening. The Shul had three Shabbos morning minyanim starting at 7:30, 8:30 and 9:00. We davened at the 8:30 minyan which was well paced and quiet. After the conclusion of davening, a nice cholent, kugel, herring and scotch kiddush was served. After the kiddush there was a great shiur on the parsha by Rabbi Ari Bergman, another former Kew Gardens Hill resident, which was attended by about 30 men and women. When the shiur ended we rushed upstairs to catch the last 10 minutes of the post-davening shiur of their scholar-in-residence. The only thing missing for me was a Rav’s drasha, which is given at the 9:00 minyan.
It’s great to see that Long Island Jews are putting the time, energy and resources to make sure that their spiritual surroundings match their physical environs.