I appreciated attending a service that I otherwise would never have attended. I learned to respect that there are different ways Jews express their Judaism through prayer. It all came together for me during Shabbat dinner when I had a chance to sit with people who had been at the various services and saw that we have so very much in common - especially that we all care about Judaism and that we all can celebrate the joy of Shabbat as One.
I became a regular attendee of Tikvat Yisrael events shortly after moving to NYC in 2005. I think the group's ability to bring together Jews from across the spectrum to a prayer-focused event is amazing and critically important to encouraging dialogue and partnership. Not all of the after-dinner programs are fully engaging, but TY does a good job of bringing in a variety of speakers to approach different topics from different perspectives.
Tikvat Yisrael is the only place where the Jewish community can come together - I love that. It's such a warm environment, and it really inspires me to continue my work in promoting Jewish accord. It sets the example that getting along is possible, that gaps can be bridged, and that the seemingly impossible is actually possible. It's the embodiment for me of communal hope.
I attended shabbat services followed by shabbat dinner on three occasions. I found it to be respectful of multi-denominations as there were several options of religious services - orthodox, egalitarian(conservative)and liberal meditation. At dinner, there was an interesting speaker on topic common to everyone. The crowd was diverse - all backgrounds and all ages. This forum encourages respect for all Jews.
TY does a wonderful job of bringing together the UWS Jewish community. Different denominations daven in specific places and then everyone gets together for dinner (Hillel style).
Tikvat Yisrael creates a space for Jews of all different backgrounds and denominations (and perhaps most importantly, those who don't quite fit into a denomination and are searching for a place to "fit", like me!) to pray and celebrate Shabbat together. There are liberal, conservative egalitarian and orthodox davening options in the same building, and a meal everyone shares together, then a learning opportunity (in the event I attended, with two rabbis who are husband and wife). I have attended one event so far, checking out the conservative egalitarian minyan though I normally go to Orthodox davening, and then volunteering to help serve at the meal. I met people through volunteering as well as getting to know the people sitting at my table, and had some wonderful and fascinating conversations with people I would not have otherwise encountered. (A rabbinic student at Chovevei Torah, several Wexler fellows studying Jewish education, and more!) I saw some friends whom I already knew there as well. After helping clean up after the meal, I attended the learning which was really interesting (it was 10/31 and they looked at Jewish teachings on the afterlife) and I ended up speaking at length to the HUC rabbinic student who had led the liberal minyan. This Shabbat evening was a wonderful experience and really fulfilled Tikvat Yisrael's mission of bringing the often fragmented Jewish community together. The organizers were very welcoming and there was a lot of great energy there. I hope to go to more such events. I have since gotten involved with Limmud NY as well, which has the same sort of mission and spirit while focusing on a once-a-year big event. Tikvat Yisrael is smaller scale and more local and meets throughout the year, and I believe it makes a profound contribution to the vitality and cohesiveness of the Upper West Side Jewish community. I really do believe this is the way of the future for the Jewish community and really, for the world!
I still remember my first Tikvat Yisrael - or TY as its supporters call it - event. I was unsure of what to expect as I walked in solo and hadn't spoken to people ahead of time to discover what typically transpires. The event was being held in a public school and there were signs up as I entered directing me to any number of rooms where I could choose whichever evening prayer service I wished - whether because it felt most comfortable, because it intrigued me or because I thought it most likely to inspire me. I enjoyed the song-filled prayer service and found some friends to join for the dinner portion of the evening. Conversation flowed easily in between and during courses of delicious food and I made some new friends. There was a brief announcement period during which we received a head's up as to the post-dinner speaker's topic, which sounded fascinating to me. Indeed, afterwards, the speaker did not disappoint, but kept 80 people enraptured in a lively discussion that sought to ask if age-old denominations were still relevant in the highly individualized society that describes today's world. Opinions, questions and differences abounded that evening, but all in a spirit of openness and acceptance that one way does not fit all. I was hooked and returned to future events, later bringing my wife with me as well so that we could enjoy them together. In fact, I grew so enamored with TY that I began to volunteer with them, eventually taking on a position on the Board. I think TY succeeds at the point when it shows that the world's religious makeup is variegated and multifold, but that the way we each practice our religion need not interfere with our ability to be-friend and support one another, even one another's needs and beliefs. I understand that TY is also looking to expand into new educational roles and I expect them to be carried out with tact and care for all.
I loved the events at TY! I am most comfortable in traditional egal services and ave not ventred out of my comfortzone for davening, but have enjoyd meeting people across the spectrum. Also as a disabled person, I am grateful serices were in a handicap acessible builing andhope you can continue to do so. Miriam Harris-Kaplan firstname.lastname@example.org
Ty is a great organization that is having real effects in promoting community especially on the upper west side. Their multiple dinner events have brought together people of different backgrounds and helped build many friendships and relationships.
I have attended nearly all of the Tikvat Yisroel events, and particularly enjoy the concept and the format. The concept is one that sounds mundane, but actually is particularly important: it pushes people of different religious observances, and undfortunstely therefore different social, prayer, and lifestyle circles, into the same room, to talk to each other, to realize we all live in the same neighborhood, and have common interests and beliefs as it relates to the importance of furthering our religion and its future. I can't overestimate the importance of this: too often, if you dont have some reason to make a "personal" connection with someone, you look at them as just another person on the street, another person on the subway, another person in the supermarket. Further, the program provides an forum for individuals who have an idea, issue, or interest to present in front of otherwise motivated individuals who care enough about their religion and heritage as to pay money and go someplace when they could be at home with their immediate friends and eating their own foods--- For example, though I may not agree with their feelings, I have heard intelligent presentations on the subjects of workers rights at restaurants (hectshur ketesha movement), the ideas of locally grown agriculture (Hazon organization), or the subject of jewish philantrhophy in a time of financial distress. This is a highly worthwhile organization to support, and I appreciate its efforts on behalf of the general community.