My partner Ken Cohen and I started going to Dorshei a few years ago. We appreciate being part of a welcoming minyan that is open to people from diverse backgrounds. We are now both members of GJC and feel at home in the larger GJC community led by our inspiring and dynamic rabbi, Adam Zeff. --Doug Lerner
Who We Are
Minyan Dorshei Derekh ("Seekers of a Way") is one of the three davening (prayer) groups that meet on Shabbat and Holiday mornings at GJC (see also Charry Service and Minyan Masorti). We are a dynamic, progressive, inclusive, and warm worshipping community. Our minyan is home to people of many different ages and backgrounds, reflecting the rich diversity of Northwest Philadelphia and beyond. As part of GJC, we are an affiliate of the United Synagogue for Conservative Judaism. Dorshei Derekh is also an affiliate of the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation.
Dorshei Derekh prizes a joyous, participatory, egalitarian style of davening. While our davening has continued to evolve since the minyan began, what remains constant is our reliance on the talents, energies, and perspectives of our members. We particularly appreciate the contributions of new members, who bring their own traditions and innovations to our community. We encourage our members to keep learning and sharing new skills, and we conduct periodic classes for those interested in broadening their participation. The following list of features may help to convey the distinctive style of our services:
- We rely on the educational, liturgical, and organizational contributions of our members to lead our services and keep our minyan running.
- We use Kol Haneshamah, the Reconstructionist siddur (which many members of our minyan helped to create).
- The first half of our service is enhanced by lively singing, occasionally accompanied by rhythm instruments (hand drums, tambourine, and other hand percussion; no stick drums, acoustic guitar, mandolin, not amplified)
- We read Torah on a triennial Torah cycle, divided into 3 Aliyot.
- Members volunteer to give a D'var Torah/discussion that is text-based, creative, and intellectually stimulating, encouraging a lively response.
- We experiment with Haftarot, occasionally featuring alternative readings.
- Our "Musaf" takes the form of creative reading; however, we encourage those who daven traditionally to do so individually.
- We are a child-friendly minyan.
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
- Our services usually take place in the Maslow Auditorium (located on the second floor of the school wing)
- We meet on Saturday mornings and on the following holidays: Rosh Hashanah (both days), Yom Kippur, Sukkot (first day), Erev Simchat Torah, Shmini Atzeret/Simchat Torah, Purim Eve, and Pesach (first and seventh days). We do not celebrate the second and eighth days of Yom Tov as a community.
For special events, ways to get involved, and news of our minyan and community leaders, please check out our url at: minyandorsheiderekh.org. For current Dorshei Derekh Davenning Guidelines, please click the link. For Dorshei Derekh minyan membership information, download this membership form. To be a full member of Dorshei Derekh and vote at our quarterly meetings, membership at Germantown Jewish Centre is required. See Membership for more information about joining GJC.
How to Contact Us
If you have any questions, please call or email the GJC front office at 215-844-1507 or [email protected] If you'd like to join the Dorshei Derekh listserve, send your email address and phone number to [email protected]