Jonathan Boyer may be the Happy Minyan’s unsung hero, though he’s more than happy to sing the shul’s praises. The Shlomo Carlebach-inspired synagogue was launched some 17 years ago to answer the need for an aufruf for a friend of Boyer’s who was unaffiliated at the time.
If I wanted to start a minyan, I think the last thing I’d call it would be a “happy minyan.” Seriously, how can you live up to that ideal every week? How can you not get exhausted by the constant pressure to deliver “happy”?
The spirited, eclectic Happy Minyan of L.A. davening Hoshana Rabba concluding Sukkot. Guest chazans, New York's Yehuda Green and Lazar Wax, lead and deliver the cantillation.
After 13 years of virtual exile, The Happy Minyan has relocated to one of the busiest stretches of the hood -- with its very own storefront.
The Happy Minyan has no physical body. It has never owned property or had a permanent location. It relies on the kindness of big congregations. For many years, it used a small chapel at Beth Jacob Congregation. Then their landlord decided they needed the space for something else, so the Happy Minyanites migrated west to a space in the Congregation Mogen David, which, rumor has it, they might already have outgrown.
For the uninitiated, the happy minyan is a fairly recent American phenomenon, in which the melodies of Reb Shlomo Carlbach of blessed memory are infused into the davening.
Well, it used to be true that the melodies were infused into the davening. Now the davening is virtually one long Reb Shlomo-fest.