Religious Life Committee Announces this year's Scott P. Zimmerman Minyannaire of the Year, Robin Shorstein!
There are many methods that minyan captains have developed to encourage others to join and attend a minyan at the Jacksonville Jewish Center. Some have shared that it is a great way to be a part of a community. Others acknowledge the importance of having people around you when you are in a period of mourning. There have been those that have expressed that it is a great way to learn about the service in a less pressured setting. And one very special individual that has been encouraging people to attend with wine and camaraderie. For this, and many many other reasons, the Jacksonville Jewish Center is happy to celebrate and honor Robin Shorstein as this year’s Minyannaire of the year.
Robin grew up in Sarasota, Florida. She and her family were very active in synagogue life and attended Shabbat services regularly. She was also very involved in USY and actually met her husband Michael at regional USY event. Eventually they reconnected, married, and made their way to Jacksonville.
Robin always knew the importance of minyan and would send her son Matthew when she would receive calls that the congregation was short. It wasn’t until her father died in April 2010 that she began to attend regularly. She attended twice a day every day during the eleven months that she was in morning. As that time period was coming to an end, Jack Mizrahi reached out to encourage her to make Tuesday a day that she would come on regular basis. She also saw that there was a need on Wednesday mornings and committed herself to attending that service as well. As the year went on, she found herself periodically attending other services during the week. Steve Mizrahi knew that she would be the perfect minyan captain for Tuesday evenings and she accepted the role when asked.
Robin set out to encourage people to attend that evening. One Tuesday, her friend Maxine Trager was having a bad day. They went to Robin’s house for a glass of wine before minyan. Soon, a couple of other friends would join them in this ritual. Eventually, she just opened her house to anyone to come to get a drink before coming to join the minyan. She also added a large post-minyan dinner, creating a warm community that was open to anyone else in the building to join them as well. Robyn wants people to feel welcome and comfortable. “It all kind of blossomed”, said Robin. “It’s such a nice group and I really enjoy all the people. It’s so hard to explain the feeling how minyan helps you in your times of grief and sorrow and having these gatherings really creates that sense of community and love.”
Robin attends Monday through Friday regularly in the morning and also on Tuesday afternoons. She’s also ready at a moment’s notice to arrive on the now rare occasion when we are short a person. She works very hard to get new people involved in the service, helping teach how to lead and even having someone stand next to them to make sure they know exactly what to do as they’re leading a service for the first time. It is for these reasons that Robin was a unanimous selection to be honored as the fifth recipient of the Scott Zimmerman Memorial Minyannaire of the Year and our first female recipient.
We invite the entire community to join us on Shabbat morning, March 9th as we honor Robin and celebrate the many other minyan regulars who make our Minyan each morning and afternoon the special services that they are.