What is a minyan?

Membership, Community, Diversity Read more from
Chapter Judaism

When Jews gather for worship they need a minimum number in attendance, or quorum. Orthodox tradition excludes women from being counted toward the minimum of ten members over thirteen years of age. But both Reform and Conservative traditions have in recent times voted to count women in the minyan. The accommodation presupposes that women in the local community have passed their bat mitzvah. The notion of a religious quorum seems to rest on a fairly clear distinction between private and public worship. Since public or communal worship is of a different order than private worship, tradition draws a clear line between them. So when there are not enough people to form a minyan, everyone returns home or prays privately in the synagogue.


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