Does your Community have a Breakaway Shul?

San Francisco may be a black hole of Orthodox Judaism, but the lackluster numbers of shomer shabbos and shomer kashrus Jews have never stopped them from dissing one another for not being as frum as they can be. In fact, San Francisco is home to a very interesting breakaway shul in the Sunset District. The Young Israel of San Francisco is just about the smallest and most shteeble-like Young Israel I’ve ever seen and just about everyone who attends the shul is in one way or another connected to the infamous Hebrew Academy, which makes it’s students on scholarships sign contracts that keep them from davening across the street at  Adath Israel the largest Orthodox shul in San Francisco.

I’m not sure if the story is accurate, but apparently the Rabbi of the shteeble got into a fight with Adath Israel back in the day over the height of the mechitza. Of course, as some right wing manical frummies are, instead of preaching achdus, ahavas Yisroel and shalom – he made his own shul instead. Like many breakaway shuls, it had to be directly across the street. This past Friday night, was the first time I’ve ever been inside. We didn’t have a minyan, they didn’t have a minyan – both rabbis were out of town. So we went over there and for a breakaway shul full of Russian high school kids it was quite leibadick, enough that one congregant said he may have to hit them up for Friday night more often.


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