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September 10, 2020

Dear BSC Congregants,

As the Yamim Noraim quickly approach, and we become more excited about seeing our members return to the shul premises, we’d like to update you on the progress we’ve made on several key issues related to our holiday services and programming.

Youth Programming:

1) We are eager to start an outdoor Teen Minyan as soon as feasible. This minyan will follow the same safety protocols as every other minyan at Congregation Ahavath Torah. Please keep an eye out for the BSC Shabbat emails and WhatsApp group for updates and timing. (Please note that children are welcome to attend services with their parents at any of the other shul minyanim as long as they are there to pray, willing to wear a mask the entire time, and stay seated next to you). 

2) Additionally, we have started a Shabbat youth group for kids 10 and under, tented and socially distant outside the home of Meir and Anat Best at 481 Cumberland St. This group is led by Rav Yoav Kochav and begins at 10 a.m. Our goal is to provide a venue for these youth groups on the shul campus as soon as possible.

Minyanim for Rosh Hashana (and Yom Kippur):

1) All three minyanim (Indoor, Outdoor, and Moroccan) will run simultaneously. Shacharit will begin with “Hodu” at 9 a.m. An earlier start time is not feasible this year due to security and logistical concerns.

2) There has been discussion around shortening the length of tefillah to lessen the amount of social exposure. To achieve this, we will aim to complete the tefillah “efficiently” (by minimizing some of the participatory chanting, some liturgical poems, and group responses) without compromising the special prayers and unique customs of the Holiday. 

3) There will be little to no “auctioning” of the kibbudim. All honors will be pre-auctioned before the holiday (see below).

4) We are pleased to announce that we have secured Zituri Yefet, a professional Chazzan, to lead the Outdoor minyan.

5) We are also happy to announce that the Moroccan minyan will be led by Chazzan Haim Sabbah.

6) Rabbi Kuessous will be delivering words of inspiration at both the indoor and outdoor minyanim. He will attend the indoor minyan on the first day and the outdoor minyan on the second day.

7) We are hoping to provide options for youth programming and child care for the Chagim, but we will not know until next week if there is staff and space available. We are doing our utmost to maintain a safe environment and cannot compromise on this. We will let the community know as soon as possible.

Seating: We are working diligently to fulfill everyone’s request for seating in each of the minyanim. We will be assigning each available seat to the people/families who registered for them. Due to social distancing requirements, it will be difficult to seat the indoor attendees in their “regular” seats.  At this point, seating is extremely limited and we will not be able to accommodate “overflow” or unregistered guests.

If you have not registered yet, please contact the office immediately to see if space is available.

Additional Shofar Blowing: We will provide an additional opportunity for anyone who was not able to hear the Shofar blowing in shul. This will take place sometime Sunday afternoon. Exact time to follow.

“Kibbudim/Honors”: We will be hosting an online auction this year for all three minyan venues to enhance the ease of bidding on each of the honors prior to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The auction site will go “live” on Sunday (9/13) at 8:30 p.m. All the honors will be open to bidding until Thursday (9/17) at 10:00 p.m. We greatly rely on your support and benevolence to keep our synagogue and programs running smoothly. Please participate as generously as you can. A separate email will be sent out in the next few days with instructions on how to access the auction website. Please be on the lookout!

As we continue to adjust to the unique challenges this year, we welcome your insight and input as to what else can be done to maintain the achdut that makes our community so special. Please feel free to reach out at any time with any questions or concerns and we will do our best to address them.

Tizku Le’shanim Rabot!


Rabbi Mordy Kuessous

Benaroya Sephardic Center Executive Committee
Moshe Klyman - President
Jacob Almo
Jacky Cohen
Joe Cohen
Alphonse Soued



Please click here to join the BSC WhatsApp group for timely updates and announcements!

BSC High Holidays Letter

Dear BSC Family,

As we quickly approach the High Holidays, we’d like to update you on our current plans for prayer services and urge you to sign up for the minyan you prefer so that we can ensure we adhere to the established Covid protocols.

We are proud to offer three choices of minyanim: BSC Chetrit Sanctuary, Morrocan Minyan in Eckstein Ballroom, and an Outdoor Minyan Tent. The current plan (and subject to change) is that these minyanim will run concurrently so that our Rabbi can rotate between the minyanim. 

It is imperative that everyone who would like to attend one of these minyanim sign up before Thursday August 13th. Space in each minyan will be limited to the number of people we can accommodate with the proper social distancing measures as well as New Jersey’s ruling of 25% occupancy. All requests for seating are on a first come, first served basis so that we can ensure compliance with the shul and State rules, and each Minyan will need to follow the protocols and guidelines (ie. masks and social distancing) outlined by Ahavath Torah and our Rabbanim.

Currently, we are nearing capacity for the indoor sanctuary minyan. Seating for women indoors is very limited as well. Because seating will be assigned in advance to ensure that family members can sit next to one another, we urge you to register as soon as possible.

As soon as people sign up, and we have an accurate count of individuals and families, we can start solidifying the seating arrangements for each minyan and confirm your request. 

Unfortunately, if you do not sign up by the extended deadline of August 13th, we cannot guarantee there will be a seat available for you in the minyan of your choice.  

There will be an additional shofar blowing before Mincha of the second day so that anyone who was not able to attend shul in the morning can still have an opportunity to hear the shofar. 

Many have inquired about youth programming and holiday child care. Given the challenges posed by the need to limit the interactions between groups of children and the necessity of mask wearing, we have yet to find a viable solution to this issue. We long to have our children traversing the shul halls and by our side for tefilah, but the risks still outweigh these benefits.

We are actively working on arranging an ongoing outdoor tented “Middle School” Minyan (adhering to all the current safety measures), run by Sol Bitton and Rav Yoav Kochav upon his return from Eretz Yisroel.

Lastly, we know how much everyone has missed the words of Torah and inspiration from our esteemed Rabbi Kuessous. Our goal is to begin outdoor Shiurim in the very near future. 

As conversations with the Ahavath Torah administration, Rabbi Poupko and the Medical Committee continue, we will be sure to update everyone on new developments. We recognize all the major hurdles that these times present us with and we kindly ask for your patience and understanding as we navigate the various issues that arise. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to reach out to any member of the BSC Executive Committee with questions or concerns you may have.


Tizku leshanim rabot!


MB Klyman - President

Jacob Almo

Jacklyn Cohen

Joe Cohen

Alphonse Soued

To register for High Holiday seating go to and click on the High Holiday seating icon. You need to be logged into your CAT account to reserve seats.


Wed, January 26 2022 24 Shevat 5782