Photos: Hindy Litvin
This past week, the children of Kol Yakov Yehuda – the Rebbe’s Diamond Daveners – took center stage at the gala which celebrated twenty years of children’s minyanim. The dinner took place at Chabad Russian Shul Auditorium on S Monica Blvd and was attended by 200 Junior congregants.
The Diamond Daveners, as it’s known the world over, is the minyan for kids, run by kids. At the minyan, which is attended by over 200 Lubavitcher children, children Daven a full davening and listen to laining.
Bar mitzvah boys sit at the mizrach wall, and over sixty girls daven in the ezras nashim- which is headed By Mrs. Srula Chaiton, who has been credited with revolutionizing that Anash girls come to Daven in shul on Shabbos mornings.
Children run the show; they are the Chazonim, ba’al koreh, Gabboim, and speakers. Each week, the Junior Rabbi announces any special occasion, and of course, important birthday celebrations.
The Rebbe’s Diamond Daveners began as a humble children’s minyan in the backyard of Rabbi Mendel Duchman of LA, California.
“I wanted my son to experience the children’s minyanim that Chabad Houses have,” Duchman recalls. “And the rest is history – what an epic feeling to be part of this movement, for the last twenty years,” he concluded during his keynote to the children.
Literally, within a few weeks, the Youth Shul doubled and months later tripled in attendance.
Today this legendary organization – now called a community of its own, with alumni married and parents of the second generation who attend KYY – hosts close to 300 children on Shabbos mornings with Five separate divisions.
Programs throughout the year include Sukkah Mobile hopping in Hollywood, Simchas Torah legendary Childrens Hakofos, Shabbatons to Mexico, and local Chabad houses throughout the west coast, a Chanukah limo parade, and a Purim extravaganza featuring world renowned talents. There are also elections for the Shul officers and board of directors, debates, and a weekly newsletter that is sent to the entire LA Anash community.
The kids’ minyan which flourishes at Congregation Levi Yitzchok has set a standard, and now Anash children-only minyanim can be found in Crown Heights, Miami Beach, Montreal, and beyond.
“We here at KYY are so proud of unzere kinder,” remarked Rabbi Dovber Chaiton, while giving out all the awards to the boys of the Ezras Anoshim division, which he leads each Shabbos.
The evening lasted close to three hours, giving the kids an evening of awards, food, and lots of fun, and bags full of goodies while heading to camp for the summer.