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Yearner's (Study/Learner's) Minyan Proposal

Why Yearner's Minyan?

  • This minyan is designed for those who yearn for more Jewish knowledge.
  • This minyan is designed for those who yearn for more spiritual depth in their Shabbat services.
  • This minyan is designed for those who yearn to take on some new roles in the service but may not be prepared to stand up in front of 300 people.


    * to increase the number of knowledgeable congregants in our community.

    * to provide opportunities for people to learn skills in a small, intimiate format.

    * to provide an alternate service for knowledgeable congregants who would like to do more studying than can be accommodated in the usual Shabbat service.

    * to have a meaningful service that ends by noon.

    Overall Structure

    * start at 9:30 (after upstairs Pesukei D'Zimra)

    * teach a topic from 9:30 to 10:00

    * Shaharit from 10:00 to 10:30 (start at Nishmat)

    * Torah service is from 10:30 to 11:40

    * read triennial torah portion, giving opportunities to people who have never had a chance for either aliyot or reading.

    * haftarah is followed by a dvar torah about 20 minutes long, given by one of the participants.

    * Musaf ends by 12:00

    * attendees join the rest of congregation upstairs for kiddush


    * a committee of knowledgeable people organizes the service, assigns all roles to attendees in advance, and ensures the proper functioning of the service in accordance with halachah and synagogue policy.

    * Learning topic at 9:30 will be focused on the Sim Shalom siddur. We will use an appropriate companion textbook such as that produced by Torah Aura. Either the synagogue will purchase a number of copies or each participant will bring his/her own.

    * Triennial cycle (by R. Richard Eisenberg, from JTS) will be followed, with 5757 as the second year (see United Synagogue calendar).

    * All participants will be encouraged to read R. Richard Israel's chapter on how to give a dvar torah in "The Kosher Pig" (reprinted from the First Jewish Catalogue).

    Target audience

    * basic Hebrew reading is assumed, all teaching will be in English

    * no previous knowledge of the text will be assumed -- adults or teenagers who want to learn more about the shabbat service should attend

    * more knowledgeable people will be asked to help take more difficult roles, such as teaching or reading Torah and Haftarah.

    Study Topics for the first year

    Focus will be on the basics of the Shabbat morning service (starting from Nishmat). Participants will learn to read and understand the text, the tunes, and choreography. Sessions will be held approximately once a month, starting in October and ending in June.

    1. Nishmat (p. 334) to Kaddish (p. 338).

    2. Barchu (p. 340) to just before the Shema (p. 346).

    3. Shema (p. 346) to Ga'al Israel (p. 352).

    4. Beginning of Amidah (p. 354) including the Kedushah (p. 356)

    5. Rest of the Amidah (p. 358 - p. 364).

    6. Beginning of Torah Service (p. 392) till Torah is laid on reader's table (p. 398).

    7. End of Torah Service (p. 412) to (p. 426). Includes Rosh Hodesh announcement.

    8. Musaf (p. 428 - p. 506). Only the Shabbat Musaf will be covered.

    9. End of service (p. 508 - p. 514).

    Year 2 proposals

    * Hallel

    * festival Amida

    * rest of morning service: Birkot HaShahar, Pesukei D'Zimra

    Year 3 proposals

    * Friday night service

    * Shabbat minhah

    * daily services

    Cost to synagogue

    * space must be provided -- it is assumed that the chapel and Multi-Purpose room are both committed for other activities. Other possible space is in the library or a classroom. Chairs would need to be set up. Cleaning will be minimal, since no food or drink will be permitted in the service.

    * Siddurim and Torah -- to be used from existing synagogue facilities.

    * Siddur teaching textbook -- it would be best if the synagogue could supply about 20 copies of the textbook chosen for this service. If not, then we could notify people that they should purchase their own at Israel Bookstore.

    * publicity -- notice of this service should appear in the Luach and shabbat flyer.

    * Loss of attendance at regular service -- this service will only occur once a month. We will attempt to schedule the service at regular intervals approximately once a month. With the rise in baby boomlet bnai mitzvah and other simhahs such as baby namings, the loss of 20 or 30 people out of a congregation of 300 will not be a significant factor.

    * Loss of Torah readers at the regular service -- Anyone who currently reads Torah in the regular service must agree to maintain that commitment if a conflict were to arise. It is for this reason that we propose to read the triennial cycle in this service -- to minimize the Torah reading in the alternate service.

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