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STEP 2 - JRF Salutes Legacy Book - Congregational Information Form
STEP 2 - JRF Salutes Legacy Book - Congregational Information Form
Submitted by Anonymous
Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - 2:46pm
Congregation's Official Name:
What is the name of the city in which this congregation is located?
In which state or province is your congregation located?
What is your name?
Year of Founding:
In what year was your congregation founded?
Minyan Coordinator, Mikael Elsila melsila@HOTMAIL.COM Minyan Coordinator Elect, Sonia Voynow firstname.lastname@example.org Outgoing Minyan Coordinator, Naomi Klayman Research@NaomiKlayman.com Treasurer, Arnie Lurie email@example.com Shaliach Tzibur Coordinator, Ruth Loew firstname.lastname@example.org Leyning Coordinator, Bob Epstein email@example.com Membership Coordinator, George Stern firstname.lastname@example.org Darshan Coordinator, Adina Abramowitz email@example.com Kiddush Coordinator, Michael Blackman firstname.lastname@example.org Dishwashing Coordinator, Debbie Stern email@example.com END
Please name your congregation's current officers and their positions.
About Your Community:
The genesis of Dorshei Derekh goes back to the Germantown Minyan, started in 1974 by Rachel Falkove, Michael Masch, and others. Shortly after its first meeting it moved to Germantown Jewish Centre. Its participatory, lay-led services, largely in Hebrew and including Torah discussions involving personal reflections, were part of a national trend of havurot and minyanim as alternatives to formal synagogue services. The minyan grew and attracted new residents to the West Mt. Airy neighborhood. Within a few years, the minyan had up to 100 participants and divided into several minyanim, one of which was more traditional and one more flexible. After various changes and reorganizations, these two descendants of the Germantown Minyan formed minyanim that continue today. Dorshei Derekh was officially founded in 1986. In 2011, it celebrated its 25th anniversary. The more traditional group, dubbed the “206 Minyan” after the room in which it davvened (prayed), changed rooms and re-named itself Minyan Masorti. The other group, more open to liturgical creativity, met biweekly. Some new members allied themselves with that minyan, and the combined group began meeting in the fall of 1986, settling on the name Dorshei Derekh. This choice was clearly influenced by the Jerusalem congregation Mevakshei Derekh, a Reconstructionist-influenced community that was then independent (more recently affiliated with the Progressive/Reform movement). Later, the minyan went through a number of key decisions. One controversial issue in the mid-1990s was defining the role of non-Jewish family members and guests at services. A more involved decision was to formally affiliate with the Reconstructionist movement. This entailed defining minyan membership, establishing a formal decision-making process for controversial decisions, providing outside facilitators, and conducting discussions with Germantown Jewish Centre. After a lengthy process, the minyan joined the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation in 1999. Perhaps the greatest change from the 1970s or early 1980s has been the re-imagination of the Germantown Jewish Centre as a “multi-minyan” congregation. Dorshei Derekh is no longer viewed as “those other people” but as a key part of the congregation. Many Germantown Jewish Centre committee chairs, officers, and board members have come from Dorshei Derekh, including two recent congregational presidents, Helen Feinberg and Rachel Falkove. In addition, minyan members are involved in education and social action projects with the wider congregation. The minyan itself has constituted a caring community, providing meals and other support for members with illness and at times of loss or of births. This support is based on community connection, not only on who is a close personal friend. The minyan has always attempted to welcome newcomers, but the transient situations of many in our community have made that challenging. The minyan has encouraged people to acquire new liturgical and leadership skills. There have always been considerable numbers of people in the minyan with substantial Jewish knowledge, enriching the community. While many of these are Reconstructionist rabbis and rabbinical students, there are also very knowledgeable lay people. This has made it possible for many to take part in leading the group and in adding to the ideas in discussions. Germantown Minyan members were part of a network of East Coast havurot that met several times a year from the early 1970s until 1981 at Weiss’ Farm in New Jersey and later at Fellowship Farm near Philadelphia. These networks formed a basis for the National Havurah Committee, and numerous Dorshei Derekh members have participated in NHC events and leadership. The minyan has organized its own in-town and out-of-town retreats a number of times, most recently in the fall of 2006. Some practices inherited from the Germantown Minyan, or created in the early years, have influenced the minyan over two decades. Other minhagim (customs) grew over the decades. A few that are noteworthy include: a) Rotating leadership. The minyan coordinator (a chairperson) rotates every six months and with the past coordinator and coordinator-elect forms a three-person mazkirut (secretariat) for decisions that cannot wait. In general, the minyan coordinator position is filled alternately by women and men. b) Participatory decision-making is maintained through quarterly minyan meetings, though attendance is not usually large. Shabbat morning and festival services involve a number of key minhagim. The minyan arranges its space in a circle or semicircle, which emphasizes community rather than a leader. Services include a good deal of Hebrew, with English readings or interpretations sometimes added by a leader. Pesukei d’zimra (introductory psalms) with much singing are often emphasized. The Amidah includes the matriarchs, and some participants phrase blessings in alternative or feminine Hebrew. The Torah reading is done on a triennial cycle, typically with three (rather than seven) aliyot. A key part of the Torah service is the misheberakh blessings, as people volunteer for aliyot to mark events in their lives and receive recognition from the community: birthdays, new jobs, new academic ventures, arriving and departing for Israel, departing for college, a yahrzeit, a new apartment or home. These combined Hebrew and English individual prayers are a way the minyan shares news and support. While officially retaining it as an option, Dorshei Derekh generally omits the haftarah (prophetic reading) except for a few times a year. (The monthly women’s haftarah project in the 1990s was an exception.)  Its omission allows for a longer Torah discussion, which follows a d’var Torah. The minyan avoids centralized leadership in these discussions by having each speaker call on the next person. For 20 years, speakers alternated between men and women to assure gender equality, until this practice was suspended as an experiment in the summer of 2006. (If there were more women present than men, a step originated to advance women’s participation might actually limit it.) The Musaf service at Dorshei Derekh is an additional reading, poem, or story rather than another service. The service concludes with introductions, announcements, and a member-provided kiddush. Occasionally a longer lunch and discussion follow services. The minyan originally used the Conservative Silverman siddur with unwritten modifications, but after the Reconstructionist siddur Kol Haneshamah (edited by a minyan member, David Teutsch) was published in 1994, it was adopted by the minyan “as an experiment.” That experiment still continues today! END
Please provide a paragraph or so about your community. Who's a part of it? What sets your congregation apart?
Now, please give us some information about your photos
In the boxes below, please type the name of each Photo, using the naming instructions from the e-mail. File naming instructions: Congregation Name.State.Category.(#).jpg For instance, if Congregation Beit Tikvah in Maryland has a picture that represents Tikkun Olam, it should look like this: CongregationBeitTikvah.MD.TikkunOlam.jpg If Congregation Beit Tikvah in Maryland has 2 pictures that represent Tikkun Olam, they should add a number after the Category to let us know which picture of Tikkun Olam we are seeing. It should look like this: CongregationBeitTikvah.MD.TikkunOlam.1.jpg. Please also give us the caption that should go along with each photo.
Photo 1 Name:
Photo 1 Caption:
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Photo 2 Name:
Photo 2 Caption:
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Photo 3 Name:
Photo 3 Caption:
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Photo 4 Name:
Photo 4 Caption:
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Photo 5 Name:
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Photo 6 Name:
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Photo 7 Name:
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Photo 8 Name:
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Photo 9 Name:
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Photo 10 Name:
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