• East Bay Minyan is on hiatus. (After nearly six years, you might say we're resting for shmita)! Email us for more info or if you'd like to host an EB Minyan event.

Davening Minhag (Customs)

Inclusiveness

At East Bay Minyan, people with differing Jewish observance can daven and create community together. To bridge the differences between orthodoxy and egalitarianism, we have adopted practices that might take us a little out of our comfort zones but also make it possible to be a single, inclusive community. These practices include:

  • Counting a minyan: Orthodox Judaism requires ten men for a minyan (prayer quorum), while egalitarian Judaism requires ten people, irrespective of gender. Neither group’s practice is satisfactory to the other. To accommodate both, East Bay Minyan requires ten men and ten women for a minyan (for a total of at least 20 people). Even if a hundred Jews of one gender and nine of the other were present, we still would not recite the prayers that require a minyan.
  • Service leading: Orthodox interpretation of Jewish law requires the Ma’ariv portion of the Friday night service to be led by a man; egalitarianism requires that women and men have equal roles. At East Bay Minyan, we resolve this conflict by always having a woman lead Kabbalat Shabbat, the first part of the service, and always having a man lead Ma’ariv. This solution is admittedly imperfect: from an Orthodox perspective it is far from universally accepted for a woman to lead any part of the serivce, and from an egalitarian perspective gender roles are still not equal. Nonetheless, this creative compromise allows people with different perspectives to daven together.
  • Seating. In orthodox practice men and women sit separately during davening; in egalitarian practice seating is mixed. East Bay Minyan has both types of seating: mixed in the center and single-gender at the sides, with aisles separating the sections. (A small divider is available to create more separation should a participant require it.)
  • Identity. We respect everyone’s expression of gender identity and of Jewish identity.

Practicalities

  • Nusach/melodies. Much of our davening is sung with lively, spirited melodies. We tend towards Carlebach but often branch out. And we are participatory … so we’d love you to join in! To get familiar with the music of our davening, visit our davening resources page.
  • Page calling. We do call pages, but to keep the service flowing and to avoid interrupting certain sections of prayer, we keep page calling to a minimum. Pages are called by someone other than the shlichei tzibur (prayer leaders) so that their kavanah/intention can remain entirely on the davening.
  • Announcements. We keep announcements brief and limited to East Bay Minyan events.