I am pleased to introduce the first Orthodox three times daily Internet Minyan (iMinyan) live streamed. The Internet Minyan will stream daily Shacharis, Mincha, and Maariv, except of course on Shabbos and Yom Tov.
At the outbreak of COVID-19, Zoom Tefillah groups sprang up across the country. Many individuals davening alone at home did so together via Zoom. While not halachically constituting a minyan, this at least offered the feeling of Tefilah b’tzibur while in lockdown. Once the lockdown ended and people began to feel a bit more safe, live minyanim formed and were sometimes streamed on Zoom so those who were unable to attend in person could participate virtually. While Zoom minyanim were very popular, their broad availability diminished considerably once outdoor minyan became commonplace and indoor minyanim resumed with precautions.
Enter the new Internet Minyan, which now streams live three times daily with a high-definition, wide-angle camera providing the viewer with the feeling of being present in the room. Microphones placed over both the amud and the bima allow the ba’al tefilah and the ba’al kriya to be heard loudly and clearly. Viewers participate without the need to download a smartphone app or to know a password. Using a computer or a smartphone, simply click on a link to participate in the minyan.
Halachicly, online participants in the Internet Minyan may respond Amen to brachos and to devarim she’bekdusha (Kaddish, Kedusha or Barchu) but may not be counted toward the minyan, recite Kaddish or lead the tzibbur. Additionally, it is recommended where possible that one davening at home with the Internet Minyan make every effort to dress as if he or she were attending in person.
While the global pandemic highlights the need for a virtual minyan, many people during ordinary times are medically or otherwise unable to participate in tefilah b’tzibur. There are also those who are traveling or find themselves in a location without a minyan. The Internet Minyan is a permanent offering and will stream weekday’s live (no replays) even after COVID, offering participants the ability to hear a full tefilah including Kaddish, chazaras ha’shatz, kriyas HaTorah, Hallel etc. A daily d’var Torah will follow Shacharis.
Currently, the platform can potentially support one thousand or more simultaneous viewers. In the future there is the potential to also live stream the Internet Minyan on Facebook and YouTube as well as on a dedicated Roku channel for users who prefer to use a TV. This could be beneficial to someone who is bedridden or for whom a smart phone is less than ideal. In the first week we began to stream, I received my first thank you email. The person wrote about his 88-year-old father who throughout his life has made his schedule around davening daily in shul but who was recently advised by his physicians to not attend indoor or even outdoor minyanim. He described how upset his father was to lose the opportunity to daven with a minyan but who now virtually attends the Internet Minyan and loves it. After reading that email, my feeling was that for this one person alone, the entire project was worth it!
The current times for the Minyanim are: Shacharis (slow minyan) Sunday (8AM); Mon-Fri (7:15), Mincha at 1:45 and Maariv at 6PM (7PM Sun). An updated minyan schedule can be seen at any time by clicking on the event or checking the shul calendar.
The stream can be found at: tribeautomation.com/iminyan.
The Internet Minyan is dedicated in memory of Miriam bat Betzalel Yehudah a”h who learned to daven in the secrecy of her own home under Communist rule. In the Z’chut of all those who participate in the Internet Minyan, may her neshama have an aliya.
Note: If you are interested in broadcasting your own shul’s minyan, please contact us.