Head of the CHJCC Zaki Tamir, who proudly credits his success to his affiliation with Aliya during his prime years of growth in Crown Heights, invited Aliya to his home for Yud Shvat.
Zaki joined Aliya the first week it opened, almost 11 years ago, when a good friend of his, Chaim Kamman, called him up and asked if he would like to be part of a new “Cool Shul”. This was probably the last thing Zaki was expecting to hear from his dear friend at that phase of their lives. Chaim preempted his barrage of curiosity by informing him that it’s not like a regular shul. It’s for guys who aren’t as conservative as your typical shul in Crown Heights.
Zaki and many of his friends whom had previously been in Yeshiva, joined Aliya for that first Shabbos, and loved it. For most, it was their first Shabbos in a shul in many months, and definitely their first very positive and joyful shul experience. No one ever imagined that shul could be so enjoyable. They saw friends there whom they never expected to see in shul, sang songs, and had a great kiddush at the end.
Most of the original minyan has moved on since then and started their own shul called “the Shul” on Albany Ave. in the Shalom center. Zaki prides himself in being a member that never left.
In honor of Yud Shvat, Zaki and his wife made a farbrengen at their home for Aliya. Some of the original members came as well.
It was a truly beautiful and loving environment in which the concept of having Ahavas Yisroel in a way of Shtus Dekedusha was the main theme.
Halfway through the farbrengen, when the inspiration was high, Rabbi Note Shemtov took a group of guys to the Ohel to write a Pan to the Rebbe. Despite the arctic temperatures they all went to Mikva first.