Chavurah Masarti

Lynchburg, VA                  Founded on 2 Cheshvan, 5766 

Chavurah Masarti

Derech Eretz


Although the basics of Jewish Prayer are consistent across denominations and throughout the Jewish world, every Jewish community develops its own customs and traditions over time.  As an unaffiliated community, Chavurah Masarti has significant freedom in how we define our own tefillah experience.  Many of our members grew up in Reform synagogues, while others are more familiar with the Conservative liturgy.  Some of our members attended Hebrew Day School as children or studied at Yeshivot.  Some have a great interest in music, and have brought melodies of all types into our services.  One of our great strengths is the ability to create opportunities for all of these different types of Jewish expression to find a home under one roof (actually, since we meet at our members' homes, we have a minyan of roofs!).  We do have some of our own minhagim (customs), however, that seem to define our own approach to tefillah.

1) We use the Silverman Siddur from the Conservative movement, and we augment that book with excerpts from the new Conservative Prayer Book- Sim Shalom

2) We use the Gates of Repentance from the Reform movement for our high-holy day worship.

3) We follow the traditional choreography of sitting during the Shema.

4) We follow the modern custom of reading a gender neutral Avot that includes not only the patriarchs, but also the matriarchs and the Chazzan does not repeat the Amidah aloud.

5) We approach the Kaddish with a hybrid tradition.  First the mourners rise individually, and then the congregation rises to support them and to remember those who have no one left to say Kaddish for them, and we recite the Kaddish together.

6) We do have musical accompaniment (recorder and guitar) for songs and meditative moments (e.g. opening and closing hymns/songs), but we do not play music during particular prayers when traditional chanting takes place (e.g. Barchu, Shema, Amidah, Aleynu).

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