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MEMOIR OF 35 YEARS AT THE BEACH SYNAGOGUE
by: DALIA DAY
Over 35 years ago, my family was invited to join the congregation by my Uncle Sam Day who owned a grocery store at Queen and Woodbine. Membership had dropped so that often there were not enough men for a minyan.There was talk of selling the building and I remember my mother thinking of buying it as our home. The women ran bake sales and rummage sales to raise money.
In those early days women sat on the right side, men on the left, men and women together in the middle. Orthodox/Conservative Services were run by Messrs. Hy and Sam Day, Mr. Shechter and Mr. Tanenbaum. Women did not participate in services. Gradually things began to change: families sat together, women were counted in the minyan; the service became wholly conservative.
High Holidays were always very significant and more people started to attend: we used to invite university students to participate. On Yom Kippur we'd take a blanket down to the beach in the afternoon and go to sleep in the sun. We broke our fast with coffee, fruit and homemade cake; it was a warm and memorable occasion.
The old outdated kitchen has been renovated - my mother always wondered what had happened to the green glassware [N.B. it is still in use and is quite valuable.] The washrooms were in terrible shape and one year we had to use portable toilets - I still sometimes walk into the men's room, forgetting that the placement has changed.
I have watched the membership grow, seen the basement turned into a social hall and the upstairs configurated to be more useful. I have seen the shul become known in the larger Jewish community and in the Beach community too. Nowadays the synagogue sparkles and emanates with a joy which my daughter and I share every time we come into the sanctuary.