Telephone Torah Study: Archive
After more than a decade, the Telephone Minyan/Telephone Torah Study is hanging up the phone to clear the way for innovative programs that continue serve the current needs of our ever-changing community.
The Telephone Minyan was founded in 2005 by five BCC members who were homebound at that time: Ray Eelsing, Bob Adels, Evelyn Poplawski, Sarah Trutt and I. Feeling isolated from our Jewish spirituality and BCC community inspired us to study the weekly Torah portion via conference phone. Soon after, others who sought connection and community for varied reasons — distance, travel, and recuperation from temporary illness or surgery — joined in. Quickly, Telephone Minyan events broadened as we added High Holy Day and Yom HaShoah services, along with classes-by-phone led by scholars throughout the United States.
Over time, people called in to the Telephone Minyan from remote places like Brazil, Germany, North Dakota, and the San Fernando Valley. We even made forays into providing remote access to BCC’s regular Shabbat services--remember those days at 6000 Pico when we balanced the conference phone on the bimah while the clergy led services?
Most proudly, the Telephone Minyan was the kickstarter to the highly successful BCC Live and its motto—Wherever you go, BCC goes with you! Since 2011 when we moved to our new building, BCC has been able to live-stream its weekly Shabbat services, members’ simchas, classes, guest speakers and special events to a worldwide audience—and archives the videos for those who missed them or want to forward the link to friends. The humble telephone may have been replaced by state-of-the-art technology, but the original aim remains the same—to provide connection and community to all who seek it.
I feel honored to have been given the opportunity to chair and facilitate the Telephone Minyan these many years. I thank all those who helped make it a trailblazer in re-envisioning community for BCC and the larger Jewish and LGBT communities. Check the G’vanim and BCC website for more to come in the secular New Year 2015.
- Bracha Yael
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