We conduct daily worship services. They meet Monday through Friday mornings at 8:00 am and Saturday through Thursday evenings at 6:00pm. With Sunday and legal holiday mornings meeting at 9:00 am. These services have been in place since the 1950's. We have members of the Religious Practices Committee lead the services.
They are held in our chapel on the bimah. We use the Gates of Prayer weekday service prayer book. Some of us leaders use outside readings to help make the services more personal. We do not require a minyan, that is why the service is called a worship service
Louis over 750 members
We instituted a weekly minyan service about 18 months ago. It's held Tuesdays at 5:45 pm-- we're located in the city, so this timing permits people to come on their way home from work. The impetus for the service was to provide a place for our rabbi to say Kaddish after the death of his father, but the minyan has been embraced by our congregation. It's a very brief service (no more than 20 minutes or so) and is conducted by lay leaders and/or clergy staff. We use the Gate of Prayer prayer book, which works reasonably well (we just created a prayer book supplement, which may be used in addition). The minyan usually does not draw huge numbers, but it has become an integral part of our worship services.
Jennifer 700 members
My Temple has three weekday morning minyan services: Monday and Thursday at 7 a.m and Sunday at 9 a.m. Up until this year, the Sunday service had the best attendance, as people would come in after dropping their children off for Sunday school. However, we went to split Sunday school session this year and our minyan attendance has dropped off to the point where we do not generally have 10 anymore.
Regarding Monday and Thursday, the rabbi wrote a letter in the beginning of January to each congregation family asking them to attend a service. We then randomly assigned dates to each family. This has been very successful in boosting our attendance. The rabbi and I also wrote a number of bulletin articles explaining to the congregation the importance of attendance. The Ritual Committee has decided to continue the practice of sending out letters, in the fall.
Our three weekday services are lay led. However, the rabbi and the cantor take turns coming to the Monday and Thursday services to chant from the Torah.
Karen 335 members
We have had a request for a daily minyan from a congregant raised Conservative who misses this. Nearby Conservative synagogues offer this already. What is your experience with this? Have you started this? How often does it meet? What time of day? Who leads it? What kind of participation do you get?
Janet 1100 families
We have had daily worship services at our synagogue since the 1940's. The service times are standardized as follows:
Monday through Thursday at 8:00 A.M. and 6:00 P.M.
Friday at 8:00 A.M.
Saturday at 6:00 P.M.
Legal Holidays at 9:00 A.M. and 6:00 P.M.
We use the weekday evening/morning service entries in Gates of Prayer. The daily worship services are conducted by members of the Religious Practices Committee (formally Ritual and Pulpit Committee). The clergy are ex-officio members of the committee and guide the leaders with additional readings during the Festivals and chol hamo-eid periods. We have just instituted Monday and Thursday Torah readings from the upcoming sidrah, provided by the cantor. We conduct the services even if only one person shows up, although we usually get between four and twelve people at each service. We also include a list of get-well prayers for community members.
Louis 900 Family Units
We have a weekly minyan, begun by one of our rabbis about four years ago. We get about fifteen semi-regulars, from nine to eleven people a week. Most of us are Brotherhood members.
It runs on Tuesdays, at 7:30, and is over within a few minutes of 8 (either side). We do the morning service, beginning on Page 294 with Ashrei and then going to Page 54 with the Hatzi Kaddish. We do almost all of it in Hebrew.
The rabbi has taught us the various mechanisms of the service. We have also done "self-teaching". Every week another member of the group has presented information on a different prayer, including all of the eighteen parts of the Amidah. We did it a couple of years and again in 2003.
We keep asking other congregants to join us, but while several have come and gone, no one has become a regular in a while.
We have had a weekly minyan which has dwindled to one to two people. We have put it on hold for a couple of months. The size of our congregation is about 250 families.
We, too, have had daily worship services since 1930. Our minyan meets Monday--Thursday at 7:00 P.M. and on Sundays at 9:00 A.M. using Gates of Prayer. Our minyan is generally lay-led. We have approximately six to twelve people, and as much as we'd like to have ten at our minyan, we hold services regardless. On the nights that we have committee meetings and/or events, we have a much greater turnout for minyan.
Shabbat morning we hold minyan at 9:00 A.M.; however, if we don't have ten people, there are prayers that are omitted. The only exception would be if someone specifically is there in observance of yahrzeit, and we would say Kaddish.
Lauren 200 Family Members
We have a congregation of about 365 families and have had a daily minyan for many years. Our average attendance is twelve to eighteen people. We have morning minyan only and this includes Torah Service on Monday and Thursday mornings. Our services are led by our lay leaders and our rabbi attends almost 100% of the time.
The recent discussion of daily services centered largely on logistics, but the prevailing message seemed to be that, where these services are held, they often draw in single digits, but are held anyway.
May I respectfully suggest that services without a quantity requirement be given a name other than minyan? I don't like to see a valuable term debased. The minyan concept, suggesting the importance of community prayer, makes sense to me; and while I find much to admire in the typical Reform willingness not to play numbers games, I also see a downside. I am no doubt influenced by my experience as a teenager in a Conservative household--where our synagogue called our home frequently because there were three possible males within a few blocks of the shul, who would come if they possibly could to let somebody say Kaddish. For me, it was a great learning experience--I was expected, by my parents and by the community, to be on call for others. (Don't think that Hinneni came by accident!)
I get the impression from the prior posts that the congregations that are doing daily worship are not necessarily serving mourners--but when [our congregation] used to have a daily service, the mourners were the main attendees other than the volunteer readers, and they seemed to cherish the opportunity to express their bereavement in the synagogue without worrying about whether there were nine others with them. The late Dr. Trude Weiss-Rosmarin used to compare Jewish ethics with situation ethics. Is comforting the bereaved without the minyan a Jewish or a situational mitzvah? (A digression: one of my pet peeves in GOP is the inclusion in the obligations without measure of "to console the bereaved" in English, where the Hebrew says, "to accompany/bury the dead." I value the concept of the English, but resent the assumption that the congregation won't know the difference--and of course, most don't.) Anyway, let's have some thoughts on the minyan qua minyan. Is it good for the Jews?
I agree that teaching people to console the bereaved is more inclusive. If that is the goal in the siddur text (a point I do not grant, BTW), then we should change the Hebrew. I think what bothers the [person who originally posted], and what certainly bothers me, is the disconnect. If we mean it when we make a change to the liturgy, we should make the change completely--Hebrew and English. But changing the English without changing the Hebrew sends the message that (1) we don't think anyone will be sufficiently skilled in Hebrew to notice, and (2) it doesn't really matter what we say in the Hebrew. If that's the case, then you may as well ditch the Hebrew entirely; it would be more honest than what we do now. (I am not advocating that. Hebrew is our sacred language and I would not like to see it decrease in our services. But it can be frustrating to be completely unable to rely on the siddur to tell me what the Hebrew says. Mishkan T'filah does a much better job of this, which I applaud.)
[...]as someone who seriously considered a Conservative congregation before signing up with Reform, I will tell you why I am a Reform Jew and why people like me are not going to justgo away. The differences are much more important than choosing a congregation or praying a certain way.
I am a Reform Jew for theological and philosophical reasons. I am a fairly observant Jew because my study of our texts and our tradition tells me that these mitzvot are important, to us and to God, but I would be completely out of place in a Conservative or Orthodox congregation because of how I got to that state. You, of course, may come to different conclusions; Reform is fundamentally about personal autonomy (with study), while the other movements are not. But as I said above, sometimes the answer, after study and consideration, is to keep, not reject, mitzvot, whether this be keeping kosher or not kindling fire on Shabbat or praying daily or whatever. I do not expect my fellow Reform Jews to come to the same conclusions I've come to; their practice is not my concern. I do, however, expect to be able to participate in a Reform congregation without compromising my own values--otherwise, the congregation does not really support that personal autonomy that is central to the movement. Reform ideology requires tolerance of observance.
Now this means that there are things I have to refrain from doing, but that's my problem. Throughout most of the year I can't accept an offer to light candles on Friday night, because our services start at 8 P.M. year-round. If I attend a congregational dinner, I'll stick to vegetarian/dairy dishes, because the meat won't be kosher. If the congregation were to pick up and move five miles down the road, I would reluctantly attend elsewhere on Shabbat. And so on. And if I want to pray daily in a minyan, I should expect to go elsewhere; most Reform congregations can't support a daily minyan. That's ok.
Just as those who keep mitzvot have to accept responsibility for working around hurdles, those who do not must also try to avoid placing stumbling blocks. I do not ask you to observe mitzvot you don?t find compelling--but I do ask that you be sensitive to others' equally valid decisions to observe. This is not "expecting the temple to adjust to what you prefer"; rather, it is expecting the temple to be sensitive to what you need, to the extent this is feasible. It is also expecting the temple to stand behind the fundamental principles of our movement.
...benefits...have come from our informal weekly worship. It does appeal "to the prayerful" and has allowed many of the participants to grow in skills and engagement. Many of those who volunteer to read Torah would never have had the opportunity to take that step without this service. The twenty to twenty-five "regulars" have built community, which would have not come about any other way as these are folks whose paths would not typically cross.