Davening resources

  • The Minyan has tapes and other aids available for helping you learn how to lead services -- just ask the Davening Coordinator.
  • The Davening Coordinator can also help familiarize you with the davening customs of the Minyan.
  • We have a guide to the "short davening" that we do on Learning Shabbatot. It is in Microsoft Word format.
  • On the Web, check out Virtual Cantor, which has complete davening for Shabbat, Festivals, High Holidays, and virtually everything else.
  • Amy Little recommends the AudioSiddur website. To find Birchot haShachar and P'sukei D'zimrah, look under "Weekday Minyan." (Page numbers are according to the new Siddur Sim Shalom, not the edition we use.)
  • Check out the sound files at the Congregation Agudas Achim website -- be sure to scroll down. Amy says "the cantor [Cantor Neil Blumofe, now Rabbi Neil Blumofe] has a pleasing voice and his pace is slow enough for learning without being painfully plodding. Good clarity, too." When asked to compare CAA to the Virtual Cantor, Judith Weiss, former davening coordinator of Minyan Rimonim, said, "The CAA hazzan enunciates more clearly, you can hear the melody better. He doesn't sing it like a cantor, but simply so you can follow the melody line and learn it. But the Virtual Cantor has much more stuff; this is just the Shabbat services."

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Leining resources

  • Virtual Cantor has the High Holiday leining, plus Ruth, Esther, Lamentations and Song of Songs
  • TropeTrainer. Barbara Sontz, our Leining Coordinator, has found this program to be a helpful aid in learning to chant Torah.
  • TropeColors A computer program to help beginners learn; it color-codes the Torah trop (cantillation marks).
  • Dr. Joel M. Hoffman's website has a complete Tanakh with Trop ("Tanakh on Demand")


We generally read Haftarah — in Hebrew or English — on the second Shabbat of the month (i.e., the first WSM service of the month), following Rabbi Daniel Siegel's innovative Triennial Haftarah Lectionary. In 5779 (2018-2019), we're in the THIRD year of the three-year cycle.

For those reading the Haftarah:

  1. Check your portion (see the Home Page, Weekly Schedule, or Rotations page)
  2. For a copy of the Triennial Haftarah Lectionary, please drop a note to Kay.
  3. Please make printouts of the portion you're reading. Some resources:

Gabbai resources

Handy charts to help you serve as Gabbai. Note: at the West Side Minyan, we usually combine the seventh aliyah with the Maftir aliyah on days where a single sefer is used.
When do we say Chatzi Kaddish in the Torah Service?
1 Scroll Shabbat

1 Scroll Shabbat

2 Scroll Shabbat
3 Scroll Shabbat
Before lifting and dressing the scroll Before Maftir reading Before lifting and dressing the first scroll Before lifting and dressing the second scroll

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Crossing of the Reed Sea

For many years, on the seventh day of Passover, the West Side Minyan reenacted the crossing of the Reed Sea. Rabbi Jeff Marker wrote to say that he created the "Yom Layabashah" ritual at the WSM, "based on pieces I found in Mea Sha'arim and from Rob Agus at Fabrengen. I led it at WSM for many years and now lead it in Park Slope. I am of course pleased that it continues at WSM. . . .When I was in Israel in 1978-79, Pam Hoffman (now rabbi) urged me to go to Mea Sha'arim to the shul of Reb Areleh's chasidim on the 7th Day of Pesach. There the chassidim form the sea and they part and the rebbe passes through. I was impressed but remembered that it was the whole people who passes through, not just the leader. Meanwhile some year at Fabrengen, Rob Agus sang Yom Layabashah to the tune 'Woke Up This Morning With My Mind Set on Freedom.' So I took those two elements and created the ritural for the 7th Day, probably in 1980 or 81."

A ritual for the Seventh Day Pesach reenactment of the Crossing of the Reed Sea can be found in Joe Rosenstein's Siddur Eit Ratzon, on page 133.

The songs can be downloaded.

Minyan history

"Return to a New Place" — Sheyna Mueller's 1984 thesis about the West Side Minyan (BIG download)

Ansche Chesed 160th Anniversary Journal (1989). Includes many mentions of the West Side Minyan and its role in the revitalization of Ansche Chesed, as well as pictures of some Minyan members of that era.


Being invited to say the blessings before and after a passage is read from the Torah. If you need help with the Hebrew, just tell the gabbai. The person called up (e.g., you) is the oleh.
To say the Grace After Meals (Heb.: Birkat HaMazon).
A printed book containing the weekly Torah and Haftarah readings.
In WSM usage, one who leads the prayer service. Elsewhere, the same role might be called a Baal t'filah or Sh'liach tzibur.
D'var torah -- a brief talk about the week's Torah or Haftarah reading, followed by a Torah Discussion. The person giving the talk and leading the discussion is also called the DT. Outside the WSM, a Torah Discussion is rare, the DT might be called a D'rash, and the person who gives it could be the Darshan.
One or two people who officiate during the part of the service when the Torah is read.
The honor of rolling and dressing the Torah scroll after the reading. It's a great honor but requires no Hebrew.
One who has returned from a long trip, recovered from an illness or faced recent danger might choose to say the gomeil prayer ("bentsch gomeil"). If you'd like to, speak to the gabbai.
A reading from the Prophetic books of the Bible, done after the chanting from the Torah scroll.
The honor of lifting the Torah scroll after the reading. Requires upper body strength.
After services, a social gathering with snacks; also the blessing over wine. Thus, one says kiddush (the blessing) at the beginning of the kiddush (the gathering).
Chanting from the Torah scroll. Can also refer to the portion chanted ("What's this week's leining?"). The person who chants is the leiner.
The last portion of the weekly Torah chanting or the person who recites the blessings for it.
Wood or metal pointer used in reading from the Torah scroll. Sometimes an oleh is asked to use the yad to follow the reading in the Torah scroll. If you can follow the Hebrew prayers in the prayerbook, you should be fine. Othrwise, just ask the gabbai to find someone else.