The Aquarian Minyan was established in 1974 when Rabbi Zalman Schachter- Shalomi z”l hosted a month-long Kabbalah workshop in Berkeley, California, with the avowed purpose of renewing the old and making holy the new. Excited by his experiential style and inclusion of mystical and cross-cultural ideas, a small group decided to organize a community that would continue to celebrate Shabbat in this fashion. Over the years, the Aquarian Minyan has grown from a loose-knit group to a spiritual community.
Forty-eight years later the Aquarian Minyan is still embodying this mission. Guided by Executive Director Lorelai Kude and Rabbi Jonathan Seidel, the Minyan has expanded its reach beyond the San Francisco Bay Area. The Aquarian Minyan Yeshiva was launched in March of 2020 and is now entering its third year. What began as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic has flourished into an online collaborative community dedicated to Jewish Renewal adult education. The Yeshiva is one hundred percent donation based with no one turned away due to lack of funds and gives members access to a national and international community of teachers with a broad range of classes that do not ignore the somatic aspects of Jewish learning and meditation.
“The Aquarian Minyan Yeshiva serves an important need in adult Jewish education space. By offering a broad range of Zoom-based classes, from Kaballah to Jewish history, Mussar to music, Chassidus to Constitutional Law, all on a sliding scale donation basis, we’ve enabled access for anyone with an internet connection at any level of familiarity with these subjects to learn together with respected academics, scholars, and teachers. We’ve created a global community of engaged learners, empowering them to meaningfully enrich their own lives, their communities, and the Jewish People world-wide,” said Executive Director Lorelai Kude.
Through these innovative new methods of connection, the Aquarian Minyan has undergone a rebirth. The Minyan, previously only meeting twice monthly for Shabbat services, launched Friday and Saturday services on Zoom the first week of lockdown. Led by an organic, grassroots desire to be together on Shabbat, the Aquarian Minyan has not missed a Friday or a Saturday service since the beginning of the pandemic and has gained a new life serving a global membership.
To learn more about the Aquarian Minyan’s history and values, visit https://www.aquarianminyan.org and to view current and upcoming Yeshiva class offerings visit https://www.aquarianminyan.org/currentclasses. To learn more about joining the ALEPH Network, visit https://aleph.org/join-the-aleph-network.