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2
votes
1answer
79 views

A good translation of “bimah”

What is a good translation of the word "bimah" (as in both the "stage" generally and the "table" specifically in a synagogue whence the Torah is read) to use with a non-Jew? Altar and stage both seem ...
2
votes
3answers
726 views

Please explain the idea of the Chair of Elijah in synagogue

What is the purpose and meaning of the Chair of Elijah? I understand that (some?) synagogues have a chair called the Chair of Elijah. Does this mean that it is a special chair that is set aside for ...
0
votes
1answer
58 views

Beit Kneset and Torah study - desecration?

By late antiquity, the "beth midrash" had developed along with the synagogue into a distinct though somewhat related institution. The main difference between the "beth midrash" and "beth ...
0
votes
1answer
166 views

Should we use a picture of the Western Wall as a “mizrach”?

Shulchan Oruch Horav 90 (22) advises against davenning in front of decorations on the wall of the shul. Is it, therefore, a good thing to use a picture of the Western Wall as a “mizrach” ("mizrach" ...
5
votes
2answers
212 views

My hands are cold in synagogue. May I put them in my pockets? May I wear gloves?

If my hands are cold when praying in synagogue: 1) may I put them in my pockets? Is it just disrespectful, as I was brought up to think, or are there more important issues? 2) may I wear gloves? ...
4
votes
1answer
150 views

Moving close to the Shul

How close to the shul would a Rabbi generally require congregants or a prospective convert to move (in kilometers please!)?
6
votes
1answer
1k views

First trip to the synagogue! Tips and advice please!

I am preparing for my first trip to a synagogue after the High Holy Days. My first visit will be to a Modern Orthodox Synagogue. I have interacted with the Rabbi by email and we will be meeting ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Can a gentile go to Synagogue on Shabbat and what is forbidden on Shabbat for a gentile?

Is a gentile allowed to participate in Shabbat prayers in a Synagogue (of course he/she will not count for a minyan) if they do so in order to gain knowledge of Jewish customs for the purpose of ...
14
votes
1answer
203 views

Do not separate yourself from the community: what exactly is the community?

Hillel teaches in Pirke Avot (2:4): do not separate yourself from the community. I'm not a historian, but I have the impression that at the time he was writing, towns tended to have one (Jewish) ...
5
votes
0answers
53 views

Going into Reform Synagogues [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Orthodox Visits to Other Denomination Sanctuaries I have noticed that in the two years that I have spent in the Jewish community, that Orthodox Jews say that they would ...
6
votes
2answers
300 views

Ostrich eggs in Shul?

Kinyan L'Shabbos (published weekly by Hamodia) - July 18, 2012, page 11 has a fascinating article by Rabbi Avraham Y. Heschel regarding an ancient custom of displaying ostrich eggs in a Beis Knesses. ...
5
votes
1answer
106 views

Is it Halachically wrong to avoid the rabbi's sermon?

At some point in our history, the rabbi's Derashah, or sermon, went from being taboo to so integral to the service that some Shuls have ushers to keep the doors closed at that time, so that no one may ...
6
votes
2answers
130 views

Pirkei Avos on shabbos during mincha?

It seems clear from the Rama, MB, and other sources (as well as from most printed siddurim) that Pirkei Avos is said in the synagogue at Shabbos Mincha as part of the tefillah in the summer months, ...
9
votes
1answer
206 views

In a city with many shuls, how much loyalty do I owe to the shul of which I am a member?

In a city with many shuls, in what way should we think about the individual shuls? a) They are “service” (no pun intended) providers and I will take the services as they suit me best. Even if I take ...
8
votes
1answer
761 views

What is the origin of hazak u'baruch?

Hazak u'barukh is a phrase commonly said after one does something in the synagogue (e.g., after an aliyah). What is its origin?
12
votes
2answers
1k views

What are “universal minimum” standards of tznius for halachic purposes?

What are the minimum standards of tznius for halachic purposes? By "halachic purposes" I mean Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 75, which forbids praying in the presence of ervah. I am raising the question ...
4
votes
1answer
71 views

Must a publicly owned building be cleaned for Passover?

Is the community responsible to have publicly owned buildings (such as synagogues, batei midrashot and libraries) cleaned for pesach? Does it matter if it will be used or not over the holiday? If ...
4
votes
1answer
79 views

Why do we have a Ner Tomid in Shul and on what are modern designs based?

It is customary for synagogues to have a Ner Tomid, a light burning always near the front of the synagogue. 1) Why do we have a Ner Tomid? 2) If it is a reminder of the “ner maarovi” which was one ...
4
votes
1answer
146 views

Modim DeRabanan - UThHonnenu or UThKayemeinu?

There is a very common poster that I've seen in virtually every Shul I've been in over the past 10-15 years. Unfortunately, I cannot find a photo at the moment. It is a (generally laminated,) white ...
30
votes
3answers
4k views

Should one ask a non-Jew attending synagogue to wear a yarmulke?

It says in Divrei HaRav (by R. Hershel Schachter, p143) that when they asked R. Aharon Kotler whether a non-Jewish secular studies teacher in a yeshiva should be asked to wear a yarmulke, he said he ...
5
votes
1answer
117 views

Why do Shuls put up notices saying משנכנס אדר מרבים בשמחה?

Why do Shuls put up notices saying משנכנס אדר מרבים בשמחה ? Do we think that a notice will change our mood? And if so, why not put up a notice in Elul saying that the Yom HaDin is coming?
3
votes
1answer
210 views

What kind of Mechitza is required when the women daven on the second floor?

Many times I have seen Shuls where women pray on a balcony on the second floor. What kind of Mechitza do they need? Is it enough if one can't see them (for example, if the angle is such that they ...
5
votes
3answers
180 views

In an average shul, how long before sunset does a combined weekday Mincha/Maariv service start?

Many shuls worldwide run combined weekday Mincha/Maariv services. How long before sunset do these services tend to start? Please specify a range, measured in "number of minutes". Also, please cite ...
0
votes
1answer
246 views

Entering a place where Gentiles and Jews Daven together from a Siddur

Would it be permitted to pray in a place where there are services that are mixed with Jews and gentiles? Meaning, a synagogue that also invites gentiles to pray with the Jews (but they all pray from a ...
13
votes
2answers
362 views

Shape of the Luchot

According to the Talmud in Bava Batra 14a, the Luchot HabBerit were square. Where did the common "tablet" shape come from, with rectangles and a rounded top? Besides in pictures, I see it in ...
8
votes
1answer
303 views

How is a Chabad-Lubavitch synagogue typically owned/governed/directed?

I'm used to an Orthodox Union-type synagogue that has a board, a president, and a rabbi as an employee. How does it work with a Lubavitch shul?
4
votes
0answers
96 views

Prayer in a chapel (bes midrash room) vs. in the main synagogue

Some synagogues have a room for prayers that's used on a regular basis: weekdays, Shabasos, holidays. If there are two simultaneous minyanim, then one will be elsewhere, of course, but otherwise the ...
8
votes
2answers
109 views

Haftara reading customs

There seems to be a wide range of customs with regard to reading the haftara. In some shuls (mostly Chassidic) the one who is called up recites the berachah, and everyone then says the haftara quietly ...
5
votes
1answer
87 views

Can a congregant who has been asked to open the Ark, walk in front of the Ark to get to the other side of the 'bimah'?

Can a congregant who opened the Aron Hakodesh walk in front of the open ark and walk to the other side of the platform where the Aron is situated?
6
votes
1answer
242 views

Do Orthodox synagogues have audio induction loops? Can they use them on Shabbat?

Let's assume we follow Rabbi Moshe Feinstein's ruling that hearing aids are permitted on Shabbat, but microphones are not. What about installing an audio induction loop in the synagogue? It would ...
15
votes
2answers
387 views

Halachot of Shul Mechitzas

What are some good books, articles, websites, or seforim for learning about the Halachot of constructing and maintaining a Shul Mechitza (the barrier between the men and women sections)? Issues ...
12
votes
1answer
418 views

Shul Ravs: What is job outlook like and how much do they make

How much do Shul Rabbis get paid? Are there job opportunities in smaller communities out of New York, for people looking to go into the Rabbinate?
12
votes
1answer
159 views

Why do non-orphans leave during Yizkor?

In all the Shuls (Synagogues) I've Davened in over the years, I noticed that all those whose parents are alive leave the shul during Yizkor. Why is this so?
16
votes
3answers
655 views

Why do we bow down in the direction of the ark?

This is a question I've had for many years, to which I've never received a satisfactory answer: In Hebrew school, we were taught that idolaters bowed to a idol of their god. They would claim that ...
6
votes
3answers
269 views

Bringing little girls into the men's section in Shul

It has become the norm in mosts shuls I've been to, that fathers bring little girls into the men's section of synagogues on Shabbos and Yom Tov. Until what age should girls still be allowed to ...
12
votes
1answer
156 views

Out-of-order minyan participation

Some shuls have several minyanim back to back. If one arrives before the Torah reading of the 8:30 minyan and has finished davening before the Torah reading of the 9:30 minyan (to whose Kedusha one ...
5
votes
2answers
231 views

Saying Baruch HaShem L'Olam without a minyan

Should one say Baruch HaShem L'Olam when davening without a minyan? What if one is davening not in a synagogue but in a home? What if one is davening alone? Practically speaking, the prayer was ...
10
votes
2answers
198 views

What is the origin of giving “Pesicho” to the expectant husband?

What is the origin of the practice of giving “pesicho” (the honor of opening the Ark) to the husband whose wife is expecting a baby?
6
votes
1answer
140 views

What does one do when one needs to bentch gomel?

One who has recovered from a serious illness or accident is supposed to bentch gomel during the torah service. What do you need to know to do this? Specifically: When is the right time -- the ...
5
votes
1answer
113 views

Community/Synagogue Honorifics

I visited the Rare Books section of the JTS in New York in Dec. 2009, to view an old manuscript from Kezmarok, Slovakia. I selected certain pages that I was interested in translating, on behalf of ...
11
votes
2answers
130 views

Did Shuls in Europe display their countries' flags prior to the holocaust?

Prior to the holocaust, did Shuls in Europe display their countries' respective flags? Do Shuls currently display their countries' flags? When did it start and why?
10
votes
3answers
319 views

Pre-1948, what flags were found in American synagogues?

Certainly throughout the 1970s and 1980s, it was not at all uncommon to see an American synagogue where the Aron Kodesh was flanked by American and Israeli flags. Pre-1948, was there just an American ...
7
votes
1answer
103 views

Sale of kibbudim on shabbat / chag

Many shuls have the practice of selling kibbudim (i.e. aliyot, hafotrah, opening the aron, etc.) on major holidays, usually via auction. I've been to some shuls where this is done every shabbat. A ...
8
votes
2answers
109 views

forgot birkas hachodesh

If a congregation forgot to say birkas hachodesh on the Shabas before rosh chodesh, should it say it another time? When? (Does it, perhaps, depend on what day(s) of the week rosh chodesh is?) Note: ...
2
votes
2answers
156 views

Congregational official pronunciation scheme

Is it proper/preferred for a congregation to have an official Hebrew pronunciation scheme, such that they request or demand that people use it for public prayers? Does this concept apply differently ...
10
votes
1answer
102 views

Why Are These Double Parshiyos?

During a regular (non-leap) Jewish year, there are four instances where two of the weekly Torah portions are read together in the same week. This is because there are not enough weeks to read all of ...
4
votes
3answers
140 views

When to count Sefira

Why do some count the Omer before Aleinu and some after?
4
votes
2answers
320 views

Black Hats During Mussaf

Lately, I have noticed that many people who wear a tallis during davening will deliberately put on the black hat, which they wore on the way to shul, while still wearing their tallis near the end of ...
2
votes
1answer
97 views

Kibbudim on Shabbat/Yom Tov

Are there any halachot governing who can and who can not get a kibbud (i.e. opening the Aron , not an aliyah) on Shabbat, Yom Tov, Rosh Hashannah or Yom Kippur? I ask because in our shul we have two ...
2
votes
3answers
316 views

Why is there a Mezuzah in Shul

Why do Shuls have Mezuzahs if they don't need them?