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In Melbourne Shabbat begins Fri 26 May 2017 04:53 PM and ends Sat 27 May 2017 05:52 PM
כ"ג חשון ה' אלפים תש"ע
Melbourne barrister David Havin is to be congratulated on his idea of compiling a Melbourne Minyan Finder. Now in its third edition, its list of venues and times is still expanding.
Download Melbourne Minyan Finder.
The Melbourne Minyan Finder (foldable for pocket use) lists in chronological order the times for each mid-week morning, afternoon and evening service, as well as those for Sundays.
The idea was born last year when David’s elder son, Reuben, was preparing for his bar mitzvah. Reuben was already attending synagogue (shule) each morning and afternoon and he knew that when he became 13 years old, he would also need to go each evening. ‘I thought I’d jot down a few different times and venues in our area, so he could have a number of choices. Then it occurred to me that I could do something for the entire community and construct a database.’
Orthodox Jews have a religious obligation to pray three times daily: morning, afternoon and evening. The obligation is best discharged in a minyan, a group of at least ten males, all aged 13 years or over. Whilst this most often occurs in a synagogue, in fact, any indoor venue such as an office or business is perfectly acceptable.
‘Since most synagogues are to be found in the Caulfield/East St Kilda/Ripponlea area, access is relatively easy for morning (Shacharit) and evening (Ma’ariv) prayers,’ David said, ‘but for the afternoon (Mincha) service, especially during the winter months – that is, between approximately 1pm and 5.15pm – attendance can be problematic.’
Hence one of the reasons for the Melbourne Minyan Finder. The third edition lists 41 venues, some of which are far away from the heart of the Jewish community, in such suburbs as Burwood, the CBD, Cheltenham, Port Melbourne and St Kilda Road. So, with the growing numbers of observant Jews, this list is proving both a convenience and a comfort. It is also very useful for Jews who unfortunately are in the year of mourning for a deceased parent and wish to attend shule to recite Kaddish.
Born in Elwood and brought up in Brighton in the 1960s, David Havin remembers the local shule having services only on Shabbat and Festivals.
Now, he is amazed not only to find that Brighton synagogue has daily morning prayers and Tuesday evening services, he is ‘staggered’, moreover, to find that adjacent Moorabbin, which could not even sustain a Shabbat afternoon service in his youth, now also has a service each Sunday morning.
He sees this as clear evidence of the burgeoning of Melbourne Orthodoxy.
David has printed 4,000 copies and, through the good offices of the Council of Orthodox Synagogues of Victoria, has distributed them to every synagogue in Melbourne.
Such has been the success of the Melbourne Minyan Finder that David is presently ‘exporting’ the idea north of the Murray River. He has found someone in Sydney who is prepared to collaborate with him in preparing a Sydney Minyan Finder.
As well as the Melbourne Minyan Finder, David found time last year to write two books. The first, The Legacy of Abraham, is an annotated compilation of the customs of Ichenhausen, an ancient and important Jewish community in Bavaria. The second is Even Sh’tiyyah: Orthodox Jewry in Carlton and Surrounding Suburbs, which chronicles Orthodox life in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, primarily Carlton, but also Brunswick, Coburg, East Melbourne, Fitzroy, Moonee Ponds and Thornbury. Its publication coincided with a number of day-long bus tours of the CBD, East Melbourne and Carlton, which he conducted.
He is shortly travelling abroad for a fortnight to lead a tour for 30 Melbournians of Poland, Hungary, Ukraine, Slovakia and Austria.
David Havin, as well as being a member of Congregation Adass Israel, has also been a Reader at St Kilda Hebrew Congregation since 1994.
He welcomes suggestions and additions to his handy little innovation, which has caught on so readily.
Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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