The Latest from BZBI

Making a Minyan with Richard Eden

March 18, 2019

Our thriving congregation is built on the involvement of dedicated community members and volunteers, who are both the reason we exist and the reason we strive to maintain this community for many years to come. This year, March is Congregant Appreciation Month. We will take time each week to profile a BZBI member and their story.

This week we want to introduce one of the core members of our morning minyan crew, Richard Eden. A little over two years ago, Richard began regularly attending our weekday morning services. He was met by what he describes as “a warm group of folks.” Since then, Richard has become one of the welcoming worshippers who gather at 7:45 AM to begin the day by making a minyan.

Richard began coming to BZBI in February of 2017. During that month, both of his parents had passed away and he was looking for a community in which to say kaddish. Though he lived in the suburbs, he searched for a minyan in Center City, where he worked. He found out about BZBI’s twice-daily minyanim and decided to come to the morning service, where he found a group of kind people ready to help him with this commitment.

Over the course of this eleven month period, Richard became a part of the community. He got to know the minyan regulars and attended a few Shabbat dinners, and eventually became a BZBI member. During that time, he saw another minyan regular end her mourning period by reading Torah and he was inspired by the idea. He reached out to Art Fischman, met with Rabbi Abe Friedman, and prepared to read Torah to mark the end of his mourning period. Though Richard is a self-described introvert, reading Torah was an interesting challenge he found he enjoyed. He decided to do it again and settled on the Torah portion his father had read when he became a Bar Mitzvah. Since then, he’s been reading Torah on a regular basis.

By 2018, he ended his mourning, with his daily minyan experience giving him the knowledge to lead the ceremony at the unveiling service for his parents. Though he was no longer saying kaddish, he kept coming to minyan several times a week–even though he no longer even worked in the city! He had found something in our morning minyan service that was special. “A lot of people take time in the morning before work to exercise their bodies, but morning minyan gives you the chance to exercise your soul.”

In this ritual, Richard also found a deeper connection to his Judaism. The weekly Torah portions inspired him to delve deeper into the text, and now he listens to weekly podcasts to pair with the parshiot. And through this ritual connection, he feels even more connected to his parents and to their parents. Each time Richard attends minyan, he uses his grandfather’s set of tefillin, reminding him of the generations of Jewish people that preceded him.

Richard Eden has kept coming to minyan regularly both because of what it provides for him and because he knows that it provides that for others as well. “Coming to minyan enables fellow worshippers to say kaddish,” he says and Richard is committed to ensuring that others can find peace and connectedness in prayer as he did. He extends the warmth and friendliness that he experienced to new attendees.

BZBI is proud to be the home of the only twice-daily egalitarian minyan in Center City. You can help us keep our doors open for this service, and others, by contributing to our Annual Campaign. And if you haven’t already, you too can show your commitment to this tradition through attending our services when you can–after all, it takes ten to make a minyan!