In the beginning, we set out a clear vision of what we wanted to achieve:
“Our mission is to establish an orthodox service on the foundations of
halacha, spirituality and participation from women and men, which will
inspire and elevate all participants through uplifting prayer, stimulating
Torah learning, and a soulful approach to the orthodox siddur.
The service will follow the ‘partnership minyan’ model, in which
all participants take a role in leading prayer to the fullest extent
possible within the boundaries of halacha. It is run in ‘partnership’
between men and women – together creating an enriching Jewish
We’re embarking on a journey. It will be a journey of learning and
study, as we explore the sources behind why this kind of minyan is
halachically permissible and as we learn Torah together. It will be a
journey of exploring new frontiers, as we adjust to a new experience
and as some of us learn to lein and lead davening for the first
time. And it will be a journey of spirituality and prayer, as we come
together for our first few minyanim. We look forward to taking this
Ten years later ...
Words from Miriam Lorie - Rabbi in Training
Ten years ago, Kehillat Nashira held its first Kabbalat Shabbat and Shabbat morning services. I’m sure like me, you’ll enjoy reading the memories of these first services, and the many we’ve had since, in the pages that follow.
Our values back then and today remain consistent - inclusivity, social consciousness and a spiritual approach to prayer. But we’ve come a long way since those early days. Our grassroots, pop-up vibe is feeling more and more like a shul community. Our shaking voices have grown strong. And what was a daring idea has become blessedly uncontroversial. Ten is a special number in Judaism. There were ten generations from Adam to Noah and ten from Noah to Avraham.
Ten commandments, ten plagues, ten “sefirot” in kabbala. Ten make a minyan (a subject we plan to explore in a symposium in March 2024) and Avraham was tested with ten trials. Ten is significant, quorate and has a completeness to it. But I think for our community, ten feels like just the beginning. I’m excited to see where we are at our Bat and Bar Mitzvah twelve and thirteen, or even where we are at thirty, which Pirkei Avot calls “the peak of strength”.
On a personal note, I cannot begin to state my gratitude for this community being here as I made the life and career decisions towards the rabbinate, and for graciously allowing me to transition from a lay leadership to rabbinical position. I feel so fortunate to be alive at a time when this wave of change is taking place, privileged to serve in this way, and thrilled that our community is at the heart of it. The famous phrase goes: “be the change you want to see in the world”... Well, that’s us, building a community that we want to be in and pass on to the next generation.
Writing this in November 2023, it’s a difficult time to be Jewish. I truly believe that the answer to our pain right now is community: community which can hold us, give us frameworks to understand what’s happening, give us meaning and togetherness. Let us continue to come together and live out all that is positive, uplifting and loving about our tradition.
Finally, I’d like to thank every volunteer, and every participant in this community (and pretty much every participant IS a volunteer - that’s how we roll!) Thank you to anyone on a kiddush, welcoming or children’s service rota. Thank you to our hard working service team, to our 10th anniversary teams, to our administrator Andrea who few of you have met but who holds us together, and thank you to our incredibly supportive, visionary trustees.
It’s a thrill to look back at the first ten years of Kehillat Nashira, and to dream about what the next ten could bring!