By Libby Herz for COLlive.com
It was 2015, and three young Crown Heights couples were ready to settle down with their families.
After searching for homes, they discovered that it was nearly impossible to find an affordable home in the area. But they didn’t give up and after months of searching, they finally found affordable, spacious homes where they could see themselves living for years to come.
But there was a catch. The houses were not exactly located in Crown Heights. They were located on 91st Street in Remsen Village; a healthy twenty-five minute walk from 770. At the time, there were only two other Jewish families living in the area. Additionally, walking to shul meant a trek to and from Crown Heights for shacharis, mincha, and maariv.
The pioneers accepted the challenge. “People don’t like jumping into water,” said one of the men named Dovid, “But when people do, others follow.” The families didn’t expect to see other Jewish neighbors for another ten years, so they were pleasantly surprised when only four months later, another Jewish family joined them on 91st Street.
And it didn’t stop there. Every few months, a moving truck would pull up alongside a minivan holding another large Jewish family. Soon, the children were having playdates within walking distance from home. In just under a year, there were enough families to create their very own community minyan.
It was time to work on a shul. Yossi Blachman, Yehuda Shaffer, and Dovid Jacobs joined to form the board of Bais Avrohom Yitzchok – named after Jacobs’s brother a”h, and Moshe Pape’s father-in-law, a”h. The newly minted board members borrowed a Sefer Torah and for a year and a half, they held minyanim in Pape’s home.
By 2017, the minyan had doubled in size and the Pape home could no longer hold all of the men. The Jacobs family decided to hold the official Remsen Village minyan in their basement.
Today, Bais Avrohom Yitzchok boasts a women’s section complete with children and family programs. Over two hundred people attend their parties on Chanukah and Purim. The shul holds a family meal on Shmini Atzeres and Simchas Torah, and one family in the area sponsors peklach for all of the kids.
There is always a lively farbrengen on Simchas Torah. In two separate instances on the Yom Tov, all of the men in the shul created a “beis din” to decree that Hashem should bless a childless couple with children. In both cases, the couples were blessed with children that very year.
Every motzei Shabbos, the shul is alive with the sounds of boys learning with their fathers for Avos U’bonim. Bais Avrohom Yitzchok is also the original home of N’shei Chabad of Remsen Village which creates weekly shiurim and monthly programs for women in the area.
“The nice thing about the shul,” said Tzivi Jacobs, “is that people feel comfortable here. It’s full of all kinds of people who happen to live in the same area. It’s very inclusive and everyone is welcome.”
In fact, the shul is so welcoming that its congregants are practically spilling out of its current location.
“We really can’t fit anymore,” said Dovid Jacobs. “We want to have more kids programs during Shabbos davening, a larger women’s section, and a men’s mikvah in the shul building.”
The current board members – which now include Avrohom Bazes, Yossi Blachman, Shloimy Zellermaier, Dovid Jacobs, and Yankel Raskin – are actively searching for a house in the area so they can create a shul that is double in size.
Since its early days of floundering for a basement to hold the bare minimum of a minyan, Bais Avrohom Yitzchok has come a long way. The shul that welcomes all families in Remsen Village and beyond, is finally getting the expansion it deserves.
For more information and for donations please go to lubavitchrv.org.
Cong. Bais Avrohom Yitzchok
270 East 91 Street
Brooklyn, NY 11212
Email: [email protected]chrv.org
Shacharis 7am (Sunday 8am)
Mincha at candle lighting
kabollas shabbos at dark
Chasidus: 8:45 am
Shachris: 10:00 am
(10:30 shabbos mevorchim after tehilim)
Farbrengens every shabbos after davening and on yomo depagrah
Mincha at candle lighting time
Followed by seder nigunim and maamar by Rabbi Raskin.
Maariv bizman followed by Rebbe video
Shiurim are announced weekly.
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