When Rabbi A. Brian Stoller moved to New York from Nebraska last summer to begin his tenure as senior rabbi of Temple Beth-El of Great Neck, he brought his daily virtual morning minyan with him.
Stoller launched this minyan in March 2020 at the very beginning of the pandemic shutdown, while he was the rabbi of Temple Israel in Omaha. During the past three years, the minyan has grown, attracting participants not only from the congregations he’s served but also from cities and states across the United States.
“I’m proud of creating this daily morning minyan,” said Stoller. “I started it at the beginning of COVID when everyone was locked in their houses, and I invited congregants to pray with me on Zoom. It became a meaningful way for people to connect each day and bring Jewish spirituality into their homes during a difficult time. Now, it’s attended daily by Reform Jews across the country.”
Currently, regular daily attendees hail from Great Neck, Westchester, New York City, Omaha, Chicago, Massachusetts, Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, Texas and South Carolina.
The group recently hit a record daily attendance of 31. When Rabbi Stoller started at Temple Beth-El, average participation ranged from 15 to 18 worshippers a day. Now, it averages 22 to 28 people each morning.
“I think that’s pretty good growth in a few months,” said Stoller. “My vision is to continue growing this minyan as a community in which Reform Jews from across the nation can come together for prayer and fellowship. I’m not sure if many other Reform congregations are doing this, but I don’t know of any other community that has the kind of reach we do.”
Stoller’s daily morning minyan meets online each weekday from 8 to 8:40 a.m. Wednesday minyans are lay led and Thursday minyans are held in person, as well as online.