What is a Jewish minyan?


Quick Answer

A minyan is a group of at least 10 Jewish men aged 13 and over that are needed for public worship. Sometimes minyan is used to describe any act of communal worship.

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Full Answer

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.

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