The Fire Island Minyan (FIM) is the current incarnation of an organized Jewish Modern-Orthodox presence on Fire Island. We are a synagogue that holds organized services on weekends during the summer season, as well as facilitating Jewish-related cultural/religious programming and working in harmony with our neighbors and sister congregation, The Fire Island Synagogue (currently Egalitarian Conservative). The FIM originally went by the name “Rodfei Shemesh, Anshe Chof” (Seekers of the Sun, People of the Beach), and we strive to live-up to the sentiment implicit in that name.
The FIM was founded in 1990 by Jim (“Yitz”) Pastreich in the living room of his (rented) house in Seaview, Fire Island, and by 1993 a modest house was rented nearby for directed use by the nascent congregation. That house was purchased in 1999 using loan-guarantees by a number of congregants, and it remains our home to this day.
Philosophically, the FIM is (modern) Orthodox in its approach, decidedly non-judgmental, and with a casual, laid-back style. The prayer-format is “Ashkenaz”, while the manner has a “Sephardic” flavor in that all ranges of religious observance are welcomed/encouraged, whilst being true to Orthodox tradition/practice. In keeping with the easygoing nature of Fire Island, the FIM has no “dress code” (congregants may be found wearing anything from suits to shorts/t-shirt to bathing suits and everything in-between) and services are self-organized, with no official Rabbinical position (therefore no accompanying weekly sermon!). The FIM is very cognizant of the location/culture in which we operate, with a (relatively) late start time and efficient operation, so as to allow people to maximize their rest and leisure hours. In fine Jewish form the FIM also has a strong emphasis on food, and we strive to have good “kiddush lunches” after Saturday morning services. A weekly/seasonal Newsletter has been published since 2002, and is accessible by all interested parties through a google-groups listserver; other FIM-related news is disseminated through that mechanism, as well.
The FIM welcomes both regular attendees and guests, and strives to present an inclusive place for interested parties to participate in prayer services in a traditional (yet casual) environment.