Minyan is a term that comes from the Hebrew word meaning to count or number. The number required to make a minyan is a reminder of the 10 spies who returned to Moses and said that Canaan was unconquerable. Jews believe that if there are enough people gathered to make a minyan then God stands with them.
Traditionally only men could form a minyan. If only nine men were present a 12-year-old boy could join to make up the numbers. Reform and Conservative Judaism allow women to be included in a minyan.
Some acts of worship such as wedding blessings, recitals of the Kaddish or public readings from the Torah and Haftarah cannot happen without the presence of a minyan.Learn more about Judaism