Minyan Service - Prayer Service at a Shiva

A minyan service, or prayer service for mourners, is generally held daily for the duration of the shiva. Dependent on the level of observance the number of minyans held daily may vary. The most observant Jewish families generally hold multiple services each day; in the morning and afternoon/evening. The primary purpose of these prayer services is to comfort the bereaved family and friends. At the conclusion of the service, the Kaddish is recited to honor the memory of the deceased.

What is a Minyan

In Judaism, a quorum of ten Jewish adults is called a minyan. The word minyan in Hebrew "מִנְיָן" [minˈjan] means count or number and consists of ten (10) individuals over the age of thirteen (13). In the most traditional context the count includes only men; however, depending on the level of observance, modern practices may include women and children. The number of participants in a minyan prayer service is often cited as the count required to form a congregation, which allows for 'congregational worship' to take place.

How Long is Minyan Service

The duration of a minyan service varies on the degree of observance of the minyan participants. In addition, if there is a rabbi or member of clergy presiding over the service there is often time spent explaining the history and meaning of certain prayers. This is also a time where individuals may reflect on the life of the deceased. Generally a shiva minyan is a brief prayer service twenty (20) minutes to one hour in length; and it is concluded with the recital of the Mourner's Kaddish.

Who Participates in a Minyan

Participation in a minyan is typically determined by the level of the minyan participants' observance. However, for the most part, in more modern times shiva minyans are inclusive of all individuals in attendance at the shiva.