Minyan Masorti

My experience in Minyan Masorti began as a great place for Mark and me to bring our young children. I loved that my energetic son and daughter were welcomed; they, in turn, enjoyed being around other kids and especially loved the generous kiddush! It was important to us that children were encouraged to participate in services. Like so many other aspects of Germantown Jewish Centre, the Masorti community values everyone’s contribution. Spirited davening, inspiring divrei Torah and friendly kiddush conversations are reasons why Masorti has been my shabbos home for many years. –Amy Cohen

Who We Are

Minyan Masorti is one of three prayer communities that gather regularly at GJC for Shabbat and Holiday davening (prayer) and celebrations (see also Charry Service and Minyan Dorshei Derekh). Our 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 our specialties.

Our 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. We have many members who are willing to teach others to take on these roles. The following list of features may help to convey the distinctive style of our services:

  • Our 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.
  • We use the Siddur Sim Shalom.
  • Our service begins with the Pesukeh D’Zimra and includes a repetition of the Shacharit Amidah, a full Torah reading, Haftarah and Musaf service.
  • The D’var Torah, offered by a minyan volunteer, tends to be text-based and brief.
  • Children of all ages are welcome and those who have not yet become Bar or Bat Mitzvah are invited to lead the hymns at the end of Musaf and the concluding prayers of the service.

GJC is a welcoming place with many opportunities for Jewish learning. We were drawn to the Minyan Masorti because we wanted to hear the full Torah reading and full Shabbat morning service. -Mitchell Berk and Beth Stearman

What We Do

Shabbat and Holidays

  • Shabbat and Holiday mornings begin with services from 10:00 am to 12:30 pm
  • A kiddush sponsored by a minyan member follows services and allows time for socializing and further discussion of the day’s D’var Torah (see Minyan Masorti Kiddush Guidelines)
  • Our services usually take place in the Canteen Room (located on the lower level of the school wing)

Special Events and Meetings

  • Special events include communal Friday night dinners, anniversary Shabbat luncheon, Hanukah party, Shavuot lunch, Shabbat afternoon Frisbee and/or football games (SFL), which are, of course, open to all.
  • Occasional Minyan Masorti meetings serve as a forum for members to discuss and develop ritual, educational, and social programs and policies.

Getting Involved

Opportunities for involvement include:

  • Leading davening; Torah reading/leyning; Chanting Haftarah
  • Sponsoring kiddush (see Minyan Masorti Kiddush Guidelines)
  • Giving a D’var Torah
  • Kibitzing and schmoozing
  • Organizing children’s participation in the minyan
  • Organizing minyan special events

Minyan dues are $18 per household. Payment will help cover internal minyan expenses and put you on the Minyan Masorti mailing list. Most minyan members are also members of Germantown Jewish Centre. See Membership for more information about joining GJC.

How to Contact Us

If you have any questions, please call or email Sylvia Lifschitz or call her at 215-628-0314. If you’d like to join the Minyan Masorti listserve, email your request to Eve Pinkenson.

Minyan Masorti Kashrut Guidelines


Food – Masorti Kiddush can consist of lots of different dairy or parve things – usually things like fruit, veggies, chips, dips, candies, baked goods, etc. Grape juice is provided by GJC. Other drinks are not. Please do consider bringing these. It’s up to you if you’d like to bring an additional bottle of Schnapps. Also, keep in mind that you don’t need to spend lots of money to make a lovely Kiddush. Who doesn’t like to eat Oreos on a Shabbat afternoon?

Masorti strongly encourages hechshered items so that we can respect the various levels of kashrut in our community and to enable everyone to engage in Kiddush.

We have been trying to cut down on disposables, and so have plastic and glassware available for use and reuse in the Masorti closet.


Kiddush must be dropped off in the Canteen Room kitchen in advance of Shabbat. You can put perishable items in the refrigerator and leave non-perishables in the plastic bins with the Masorti name on them. Both should be in bags labeled ‘Minyan Masorti.’ Most people set up Kiddush during Musaf in the kitchen, and then bring it out to the tables in the back of the room after we finish services (there’s always someone else to help out). There’s a white cabinet in the corner of the kitchen labeled Masorti that has all of our paper goods, plastic and glassware, schnapps and schnapps glasses. The cabinet is locked. Email or call Sylvia Lifschitz (above) to show you how to open the combination lock. You are also free to use the glassware, platters, silverware, knives and serving utensils that are out or in cabinets and drawers, and available to the Hospitality Network. Please consider washing these before use, as there have been rodents in the Canteen Room kitchen. You are also responsible for cleaning up after Kiddush. Please load the dishwasher with plastic and glassware. The maintenance staff will do this after shabbat. Please wash and dry (using the cloth dish towels) and put away all utensils and dishes not in the dishwasher, and clean the counters. Please remember to relock the cabinet when you clean up. There are 2 large plastic bins high up on top of the dish cabinets marked Minyan Masorti. You can put any extra UNOPENED AND NONPERISHABLE goods you want to donate for a rainy day (when there is no nice kiddush sponsor like you!).