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About DC Minyan

DC Minyan is a traditional, egalitarian, lay-led Jewish community located in Dupont Circle, in the heart of Washington, DC. At DC Minyan, we seek to provide a warm and intellectually engaging community for prayer and study. DC Minyan is a Jewish community passionately committed to both traditional halachah and principles of egalitarianism. We strive to be an inclusive community that provides rich and meaningful Jewish experiences for people of diverse backgrounds. 

DC Minyan meets for Shabbat morning services on the first and third Shabbat of every month, for Friday evening services on the second and fourth Shabbat of each month, both Friday night and Shabbat morning on a month’s fifth Shabbat, on most holidays, and on selected special events. Seating at services is mixed with no separations between genders.

Among the other programs we offer are social action campaigns, community meals, and events geared toward families with children. Get updates on where and when we will be meeting and on all events and programs in our weekly email newsletter (sign up in the sidebar).

Please do not hesitate to email info@dcminyan.org with any questions, concerns, feedback, constructive criticism, or musings! We look forward to hearing from you.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

  1. I am coming to DC Minyan for the first time. What can I expect?
  2. What are the demographics of DC Minyan?
  3. Is DC Minyan affiliated with a particular movement in Judaism?
  4. How can DC Minyan be both halachic and egalitarian?
  5. Does DC Minyan have a rabbi? How are clergy involved with DC Minyan?
  6. How are halachic (Jewish legal) decisions made at DC Minyan?

1. I am coming to DC Minyan for the first time. What can I expect?

Welcome! We look forward to meeting you! People of any gender sit together at DC Minyan. DC Minyan counts a minyan (prayer quorum) as 10 Jewish adults. 

We conduct services in accordance with traditional Jewish liturgy. We provide two different siddurim (prayer books) — Koren and Sim Shalom — along with the Hertz chumash (book containing the weekly Torah and haftarah portions) for the Torah service. Throughout the service, the gabbaim (ritual coordinators) announce the corresponding pages in those siddurim. We also encourage people to bring their own siddur if they would like to do so. In addition, we have a number of transliterated Artscroll siddurim available for those who would like transliteration. All siddurim and chumashim are located by the entry of the prayer space. 

Our services are spirited and lively, and are led by members of the DC Minyan community. The DC Minyan Gabbai Committee is responsible for orchestrating DC Minyan services, including assigning those who lead services and read Torah. The gabbaim typically reach out to community members to participate weeks in advance in order to provide participants with adequate time to prepare. If you would like to participate in DC Minyan services, please email gabbai@dcminyan.org.

After services, a Steering Committee member makes announcements and introduces the other committee members. Please take this opportunity to come over and introduce yourself! Since DC Minyan has over 100 attendees on any given week, it is difficult for DC Minyan leaders to identify every new person who walks through the doors. However, the leaders are eager to meet new folks and guests in the community, so please come over and say hello after the announcements and during kiddush!

2. What are the demographics of DC Minyan?

The DC Minyan community includes recent college graduates, single people, married couples, parents and children, baby boomers, and more. DC Minyan welcomes people of all ages, from all backgrounds, and with all levels of familiarity with Jewish texts and ritual.

3. Is DC Minyan affiliated with a particular movement in Judaism?

DC Minyan is not affiliated with any particular movement (Conservative, Orthodox, Reconstructionist, Reform, or Renewal), and members of the DC Minyan community come from a wide range of Jewish backgrounds. We are an egalitarian community, meaning that women and men lead and participate in all aspects of services. Our services follow a traditional format and all of our services and programming are planned in accordance with halachah (Jewish law).

While DC Minyan is not affiliated with any particular movement, DC Minyan does regularly interact with other independent minyanim across the country to share experiences, ideas, and best practices. Additionally, we are always open to collaborating with Jewish communities of all denominations to develop joint programming.

4. How can DC Minyan be both halachic and egalitarian?

All DC Minyan tefillot (prayer services) and events are rooted in an understanding of, and conducted in accordance with, halachah (Jewish law). A close examination of classic Jewish sources reveals ample support for equal participation by women and men in davening (prayer leading) and leining (Torah reading). Click here to review some of the sources on which DC Minyan relies, as well as links to a variety of teshuvot (rabbinic responsa) and other resources on this issue.

5. Does DC Minyan have a rabbi? How are clergy involved with DC Minyan?

DC Minyan is lay-led and does not have a rabbi. However, DC Minyan leadership consults with community members and rabbis when specific halachic questions arise. One rabbi with whom DC Minyan regularly consults is Rabbi Ethan Tucker of Mechon Hadar in New York. Additionally, DC Minyan has relationships with a number of rabbis in the Washington, DC area, many of whom are willing to help with life cycle needs for members of the DC Minyan community. If you would like to be referred to a local rabbi for assistance with a life cycle event or for pastoral counseling, please contact the Steering Committee.

6. How are halachic decisions made at DC Minyan?

The Steering Committee and Gabbai Committee are responsible for making halachic (Jewish legal) decisions. In arriving at a conclusion on a halachic issue, the Steering Committee and Gabbai Committee consider source texts on the issue. For routine questions, or questions about how DC Minyan has handled a particular halachic issue in the past, the committees may also consult DC Minyan members who have deep Jewish textual knowledge or knowledge of DC Minyan’s institutional history. When a particular question is novel or requires significant background knowledge or research, or when the committees feel that a rabbinic opinion would be of assistance, the committees consult with Rabbi Ethan Tucker.

Fri, March 1 2024 21 Adar I 5784