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Darkhei Noam 2002-2017: A Retrospective

As we are about to embark on our next chapter, I wanted to take a moment for a quick trip down memory lane to recall Darkhei Noam’s founding and growth over the past 15 years. 
Darkhei Noam was founded in March 2002 by four individuals who were inspired by Drisha’s experimental partnership minyan for part of its Rosh Hashanah services and encouraged by the publication in the Edah Journal of Mendel Shapiro’s halakhic analysis of mixed Torah reading. Our first home was at Rodeph Sholom’s Middle School where we met just once a month. We quickly outgrew that location and moved to Rodeph Sholom’s gym -- setting the stage for our long relationship with gyms. We were at our second location for just a few years before we moved here, to the then-Heschel School in 2005. 
For the past 12 years, Darkhei Noam has been nurtured in this space and has grown by leaps and bounds. We went from meeting just once a month on Shabbat mornings to meeting every Shabbat morning. We started meeting on Friday nights once a month in 2006 and now meet every Friday night (except for this coming July and August, of course). This coming September will mark the 8th year since we started meeting for tefillah on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. In 2013, we added Pesach davening to our roster so that we meet for every Shabbat and every chag. Since then we also added our winter Shabbat mincha (one of my personal favorites) and the Shavuot vatikin minyan. Along the way, Darkhei Noam has become a thriving kehillah with nearly 300 people that come together every Shabbat and even more for smachot. Our kehillah is composed of every generation, including our babies, Tot Tefillah kids and older children, our vibrant Young Professionals and older professionals, our young families, our not-so-young families, our empty nesters and our grandparents. 
In addition, Darkhei Noam has also become our spiritual home: A place where we have davened, learned Torah from each other and grown together as a kehillah. Here in our spiritual home we have formed important relationships with each other, and celebrated engagements, marriages, births, and bar and bat mitzvahs together. We have also supported each other in mourning and during other challenging times. 
Back in 2005, we didn’t know what our relationship with Heschel would look like or become. We started out slowly, with just a one-year contract, which then grew into a wonderful relationship and experience first with Heschel and then with BJ that allowed our community to prosper. I say this because as we enter into our next chapter, we will need to give ourselves time -- and a lot of patience -- to adjust to the new settings, working with two different locations, and the growing pains we will experience as we settle into Manhattan Country School and Dorot. But we are confident that Darkhei Noam will continue to prosper in our new space as we have during these past 12 years. 
That being said, I want to remind everyone about our Spring campaign to support our move and our future. As of yesterday, we have raised more than $40,000 toward our $50,000 goal! Thank you so much to everyone who has already contributed. If you have not yet had a chance to participate in the Spring campaign, we encourage you to do so. We hope you will support Darkhei as generously as possible. Every dollar counts and any amount is valuable. 
And finally … you MAY be wondering what all these people are doing up here with me. You know I’m big on Hakarat HaTov. So -- Just as we are celebrating the growth of the kehillah over the past 15 years, I also wanted to acknowledge and thank our founders and our co-chairs who led our community over the past 15 years -- many of whom still daven with us -- and helped us become the kehillah we are today. So, in order of their service, thank you:

Jonathan Stein, Lisa Schlaff, Tamara Charm -- our founders

Michael Kellman, Tamara Charm (2003-2005), Jeremy Burton (2005-2007), Tamar Major (2006-2008), Josh Getzler (2007-2009) Amy Newman (2008-2010), Chaim Steinberger (2009-2011), Allie Alperovich (2010-2012; 2019-2020), Bruce Goldberger (2011-2013), Ariella Lang, (2012-2014), David Rendsburg (2013-2015), Abby Knopp (2014-2016), Eric Hecht (2015-2017), Roz Singer (2016-2018), Phil Gassel (2017-2019), Abigail Kahn Archibald (2018-2019), Avi Zollman (2019-2021). 

Which leads me to the next note of transition. Many of you know that Eric’s term as co-chair is ending and you may be wondering who our next co-chair will be. I am excited to announce that Phil Gassel is stepping into this role as our next co-chair. Phil has been davening at Darkhei Noam since the very beginning in 2002. He helped lead Darkhei Noam’s first service and never left. More recently, he helped to organize and currently serves as co-chair of DN’s Chevra Kadisha and has served on the Board of Darkhei Noam for the past 1.5 years. Phil is married to Molly Pollak who also served on the Darkhei Noam Board from its inception for more than a decade. They have three grown children and one granddaughter, Claire, who frequently attends Darkhei Noam and whose bright red hair you probably all recognize. Eric will complete his term at the end of the month and Phil will start his term on July 1, just in time for our new home. 
So -- another moment for hakarat hatov. Eric -- I want to say thank you to you in particular as co-chair extraordinaire. I appreciate you and Abby training me for the role of co-chair and I continued to learn from you this entire year. Our strengths truly complement each other’s and it has been great serving the Darkhei Noam community together with you. And I look forward to working with Phil this coming year.  

Delivered by Roz Singer, Co-Chair 2016-2018

Shabbat Announcements, June 17, 2017 



Sat, May 18 2024 10 Iyyar 5784