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Yamim Noraim Message from the Co-Chairs

We are happy to send you this note as we approach the Yamim Noraim to share all that is happening at Darkhei Noam. This past year, the Darkhei Noam community has davened, celebrated, mourned, eaten, sung, danced, composted, and learned together. We have been most privileged to see how this community has stepped up and made so much happen - through your generous and consistent contribution of time, energy, and financial support.

We persevered through a pandemic, becoming more robust and appreciative of belonging to this community. And we have felt that bounce back of excitement and engagement this year.  Darkhei had more participants and more activities than ever before in its history. We are at capacity attendance for the Yamim Noraim, and we look forward to beautiful davening, that will provide a meaningful holiday in our 85th Street space. 

We celebrated our 20th anniversary this year, which allowed us to reflect on how we started, what was created as a lay-led community, and where we are going. We have marked this milestone thanks to many of you who generously contributed by commissioning a beautiful new Sefer Torah, a newly designed Aron Kodesh, a mechitzaparochet and rimonim, and a new gym HVAC system. Our davening space will soon be  something for all of us to be proud of. We have come a long way from our start as a wandering occasional minyan.   

The Board has made a commitment to expanding our children’s services and activities, which our new Youth Programming Coordinator, Deena Nerwen, will orchestrate. We provide babysitting at the beginning of shul and then davening for all different age groups: Tot Tefillah, kid’s tefillah, junior minyan, and teen learning.  

Throughout the year, every Friday night and Shabbos morning, beautiful, meaningful partnership davening is at the heart of what we do. Davening and leining are led by many seasoned veterans and many new recruits. We hear beautiful drashot on Shabbat and are encouraging more people to prepare them (just contact Hannah Rothstein, the Divrei Torah Coordinator).  Of course, a key feature for all is the Shabbat morning kiddush. We have updated the information on the website to clarify kiddush sponsorship opportunities. 

In our growing community, we have been thrilled to celebrate many Smachot: Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, aufrufs; and baby namings, and we have been able to organize the community to provide support when our shul members need the assistance of the Chevra Kadisha and Shiva committees. 

Over the past year, we have welcomed 24 new members, arranged Shabbat meals with the community for families, teens, and scholars in residence, and brought new people to our Shabbos tables for mix and match. In a few weeks, we will have our community Sukkah a few blocks away as in the past and a community-wide Simchat Torah celebration where we will honor Chatan Torah Mikey Stein and Kallah Bereishit Sara Timen. 

The Board introduced two initiatives this year that reflect the interests and concerns of our members. The Climate Action Committee has helped us see our place in the Jewish environmental dialogue by teaching us how caring for the earth is a fundamental Jewish value. The Pride Committee has helped us demonstrate that Darkhei Noam is an inclusive community where its LGBTQ+ members participate in our davening and celebrate life cycle events with us. 

Our Strategic Planning exercise this past year has left the Board with many ideas to explore regarding our leadership structure and how Darkhei can best serve the community. We are examining the core values of DN, identifying our essential communal priorities, and charting a course that ensures that we evolve as a community to better serve our community's needs. We are dedicated to harnessing our human and financial resources and adherence to halachic principles to sustain and invigorate Darkhei Noam. The Darkhei Noam community has accomplished much more than our founders dreamed of 20 years ago. We hope to be back in touch with additional initiatives that will build on our accomplishments. 

Finally, we would like to acknowledge the contributions of Mikey Stein, whose term as co-chair recently concluded, and welcome a new officer to the leadership structure, Alistair Gatoff, who was elected Treasurer.

On behalf of the Darkhei Noam Board of Directors, we wish you a Shanah Tovah v’ Metukah -  שנה טובה ומתוקה

Michelle Kraus and Paul Wachtel, co-chairs

Sun, July 14 2024 8 Tammuz 5784