GJC’s Different Prayer Communities

The original Germantown Minyan was started after the High Holidays in 1974 as the vision of Rabbi Elias Charry, z”l, who saw that diverse davening styles were a building block for GJC’s future. The Germantown Minyan began with an average attendance of 12 in its first year. There are now two minyanim, and attendance at both minyanim now averages nearly 150 on a given Shabbat or Chag. The minyanim at GJC have become a magnet for Jews in Philadelphia who are interested in lay-led davening and a community for celebrating Shabbat and Chaggim. Minyan Masorti was created as a spin-off from the Germantown Minyan on Shabbat Yitro in 1980, due to a desire for an egalitarian davening that followed a traditional Matbeah t’filih, including a full kriah and a repetition of the Shacharit Amidah, full P’seukei D’zimrah, and no English prayer. Originally meeting in classroom 206 at GJC, it was first called the “206 Minyan” and davened together for all Shabbatot and holidays except for the High Holidays, when they would join with the Germantown Minyan. Dorshei Derekh is the renamed direct descendant of the Germantown Minyan.

The Charry Service

The Charry Service provides a traditional, egalitarian service with a focus on learning.  Both women and men participate equally in our service, and we encourage and provide opportunities for participants to learn the language (Hebrew) and the skills (chants and tunes) that allow them to lead the prayers and to read from the sacred texts that make up the core of the service.  GJC Rabbis and other guest teachers open up new perspectives on these texts and encourage discussion during our extended study period after the Torah is read.  The following list of features may help to convey the distinctive style of the Charry Service:  We useSiddur Sim Shalom, the prayerbook of the Conservative movement, to which we add inclusive language to welcome both women and men into the prayer experience.  Our Shabbat prayers begin with Shacharit (the morning service) and continue with the Torah reading. We take time for an extended period of study before finishing with Musaf (the concluding service).  Our reading from the Torah follows the shorter, triennial cycle, completing the reading of the Torah every three years. Read more here…

Minyan Dorshei Derekh

Minyan Dorshei Derekh (“Seekers of a Way”) is a dynamic, progressive, inclusive, and warm worshipping community. The minyan is home to people of many different ages and backgrounds, reflecting the rich diversity of Northwest Philadelphia and beyond. As part of GJC, they are an affiliate of the United Synagogue for Conservative Judaism. Dorshei Derekh is also an affiliate of the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation.  Dorshei Derekh prizes a joyous, participatory, egalitarian style of davening, relying on the talents, energies, and perspectives of its members. They encourage members to keep learning and sharing new skills, and conduct periodic classes for those interested in broadening their participation. The following list of features may help to convey the distinctive style of Dorshei Derekh services:  Services use Kol Haneshamah, the Reconstructionist siddur (which many members of the minyan helped to create).  The first half of our service is enhanced by lively singing, occasionally accompanied by rhythm instruments (hand drums, tambourine, and other hand percussion; not amplified.)  Torah is read on a triennial Torah cycle, divided into 3 Aliyot.  Read more here…

Minyan Masorti

Minyan Masorti’s tefilot (prayers) consist of an egalitarian version of a traditional service. We’re an informal and welcoming group. Davening, singing, learning, eating, drinking, and schmoozing are some of their specialties. Their ruach (spirit) arises from our active participation. All members are encouraged to contribute to the service. While some members of the minyan are trained as rabbis and cantors, their role is equal to that of other participants. All members, regardless of age or background, are invited to learn the skills to assume leadership of the service. The following list of features may help to convey the distinctive style of Minyan Masorti services: The service is led on a volunteer basis by members of the minyan.  All of the prayers and the reading of the Torah and Haftarah are in Hebrew.  The service begins with the Pesukeh D’Zimra and includes a repetition of the Shacharit Amidah, a full Torah reading, Haftarah and Musaf service.  Read more here…

Kol D’mamah Meditation, Chant & Yoga

This Shabbat morning service allows you to connect to the divine through music, breath & learning. A rotating group of volunteers leads this monthly hour-long minyan that includes chant, hand percussion, meditation and contemplative teachings, as well as yoga.