As we emerge into this (hopefully) post-COVID world, many of us—both individually and as a community—are reflecting on what we want the future to look like.
The Jewish world grew unfathomably large in the past 16 months, with online options allowing us to drop in on virtual programming anywhere in the world. But it was also uncomfortably small, as travel restrictions forced us to rely much more on those in our immediate community.
Like so many other communities, DC Minyan struggled to figure out how best to serve our community members since the pandemic hit. As one of the few non-Orthodox communities that did not choose to use technology on Shabbat, our community had to lean into the question of how to safely gather in person. We’ve been praying together outside multiple times a month on Saturday mornings. As of this Friday, July 23, we will finally be back to providing Kabbalat Shabbat services as well (not every week, check the website for details). Social distancing requirements and capacity limits initially meant that programming that used to be open to anyone reverted to members only; thankfully those restrictions are now lifted.
DC Minyan is a Traditional Egalitarian Independent Minyan located in Dupont Circle. That means we are 100% lay-led, with no professional staff, and no rabbi (though plenty of rabbis have attended our minyan over the years). We are a community committed to halacha and Jewish observance. And we are also a community committed to gender equality in Jewish ritual life. That combination probably doesn’t match the community where you grew up, and that’s the point. Our minyan is a blend of people from different Jewish denominational backgrounds who have come together to build an intentional community.
Throughout the pandemic, we saw our community come together in incredible ways. Our leadership team pulled off the gargantuan task of doing outdoor in-person High Holiday services and shofar blowing, in a year where very few such options existed. They carefully navigated questions of communal singing and bringing children. Sukkah matching, Passover delivery, and Purim care packages kept the minyan going through the holiday cycle. As community members have dealt with life events during this time, the DC Minyan meal trains have filled up almost instantaneously. It is times like these that I feel immense gratitude to be a part of a community like this.
It feels wonderful to have finally reached that milestone of being able to say “we’re back.” So I’ll end with a plug: whether you’re new to DC, a previous attendee who hasn’t been in a while, or simply someone rethinking their Jewish communal options, I hope you’ll give the minyan a try. It just might be the community you’ve been looking for.
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About the Author: Josh Nason is a long-time DC Minyan member, and past member of the DC Minyan Steering Committee. He is a native Texan, wrapping up his 11th year living in DC. Josh works on Middle East politics, spends other time cooking, golfing, hiking around the DMV, and cheering for his Dallas sports teams. He lives with his wife, Jordy, in Adams Morgan.