Photos: Renaissance of Woodbourne Shul Continues Despite Construction


woodbourne-shul-56[Photos below.] It takes quite a lot to attract over 50,000 Yidden under one roof within a span of just two months. This feat is even more awe-inspiring considering the fact that the building was seen as a relic of the past that was unable to attract today’s masses just a few years ago.

This transformation, however, is no fairy tale, but rather a tale that replays itself on an hourly basis at Khal Bnei Yisroel of Woodbourne, New York. The shul is one of the oldest in the region, founded nearly a century ago, and already had its doors closed for over a decade. Now, it serves as one of the most vibrant arteries utilized by the crowds of Yidden who occupy the Catskills over the summer months, with a steady stream of minyanim. The shul attracted over 50,000 mispallelim last summer and is, be’ezras Hashem, poised to exceed that number this year.

What changed?

For the third summer, Khal Bnei Yisroel is under the leadership of the Nikolsburger Rebbe of Boro Park, Rav Mordechai Zev Jungreis, who now serves as the shul‘s official rov. Ever since the Rebbe’s active leadership took hold, the shul is beacon of warmth and joy. This aura is a direct result of the Rebbe’s warm and dedicated approach, which has helped him build a personal rapport with numerous Yidden of all stripes, young and old. The Rebbe’s influence over his ever growing “extended family” is immeasurable, and serves as the prime magnet for Yiddishkeit for many of them. The Catskills is now fortunate to enjoy these rays close up.

Though his various communal activities are based in Brooklyn, the Rebbe has shown enormous dedication towards ensuring the Woodbourne shul‘s success. He personally spends the summer there, and prepares for the vacation season well in advance.

This past week, the shul was temporarily closed for repairs and renovations, and the Rebbe was in the midst of sheva brachos for his daughter. Yet, that did not stop crowds of minyanim from forming outside the building throughout the day until well past midnight. The Rebbe was in Woodbourne and personally greeted the mispallelim, making sure that they were well tended to. Due to the late hour of the crowd, the Rebbe ended up missing his daughter’s sheva brachos!

The shul’s growth thus far is only the beginning of the transformation, the effects of which will, be’ezras Hashem, continue to spiral and pay inestimable dividends to the community of Woodbourne and frum Yidden throughout the Catskills and well beyond.

See below for photos:

{Casriel Newscenter}