house of Jewish prayer

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7
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2answers
6k 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
121 views

Are Synagogues “holy ground,” offering protection from evil creatures?

I'm not a Jew, but I'm writing a fantasy novel set in medieval Europe, and one of my characters is a Jew. I've got a group of people with diverse backgrounds who've come together to fight a great ...
7
votes
2answers
173 views

Is it better to pray at a synagogue where you feel comfortable praying, or to go where your father prays?

This is a common problem with guys living near or with their parents. Do you fulfill Kibud Av Ve'aim and go to shul with your father, or is it preferred to pray at a place where you feel more ...
7
votes
2answers
629 views

Can a convert become a synagogue president? Why or why not?

I understand that the National Council of Young Israel has a rule that women and converts may not be elected president of a Young Israel synagogue. I think I saw a gemara -- or a comment to a gemara ...
7
votes
1answer
151 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
105 views

Half Aleinu outside a shul

Has anyone heard of the minhag to say Aleinu only until "Al ken Nekave Lach" (only the 1st paragraph) if one is not praying in a synagogue? I've been told a number of times about this practice in ...
6
votes
1answer
146 views

“Qof, Qof” What does this mean?

An old (formerly used) synagogue building in my town has this sign on the front of it: The text says "Shaaray Torah", the name of the congregation, but what is the meaning of the two qofs above it? ...
6
votes
3answers
574 views

What is the origin for Reform to call their synagogues a “Temple”?

Why does Reform typically call it a Temple, vs a Beit Knesset, a Beit Sefer, or a shul? I imagine the Hebrew would have been the obvious go to, if they chose to ignore the yiddush. Not that I know ...
6
votes
1answer
115 views

Tetragrammaton on Aron Kodesh

I recently began my freshman year at a major US university. While in the university's Hillel for a meeting (I.e. not for davening), I saw the Aron Kodesh had engraved on it , fully spelled out, the ...
6
votes
3answers
347 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
298 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
205 views

Which rabbi was it who checked a person's identity by asking where he sat in shul?

The story goes something like ... A few days after his wedding, a man disappeared without a trace. Many years later, a mysterious man showed up back in town, claiming to be him. He looked ...
6
votes
2answers
352 views

Can you turn your back to the Aron HaKodesh?

I'm quite certain that it is mentioned in the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch that one should not turn one's back to the Aron HaKodesh (ark which holds the Torah Scrolls). Can anyone tell me where this is ...
6
votes
2answers
240 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? ...
6
votes
2answers
200 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, ...
6
votes
1answer
324 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
335 views

How does “shabbat speech-reinforcement” work?

How does the technology for shabas-compliant voice amplification referred to on this architecture firm's website work? Is it different technically from a regular microphone setup or is the distinction ...
6
votes
1answer
337 views

Non-Jews & Shul Access

Can a shul deny access to a non-Jew due to the fact that he/she is not Jewish? Even if the person genuinely has a desire to learn about Judaism and worship Hashem? What are the rights (if any) of a ...
6
votes
1answer
134 views

What is the source for Rav Soloveitchik's assertion that 1st Century Christians introduced mixed seating for prayers?

In the collection of Rav Soloveitchik’s responsa Community, Covenant and Commitment, there is a series of letters railing against mixed seating in the synagogue. Amongst the points raised there is a ...
6
votes
1answer
195 views

Making very loud drumming noise during davening

Many leaders and congregants in my shul bang with their hands on the shulchan and on their siddurs and stomp their feet in what is supposed to be the rhythm of the prayer's melody. The noise is ...
5
votes
8answers
907 views

Digital Synagogue displays?

Why do Synagogues use or not use them? Bonus: What are some of the companies that make these digital wall displays for synagogues? How much do they cost? Does anyone know where I can find info ...
5
votes
5answers
364 views

Sources to encourage returning s'farim to their places

Hanging signs saying the above was not enough to make people in my synagogue put back the s'farim they have used into the bookcases. What other mitzvos could I bring on my next edition of the ...
5
votes
3answers
165 views

When to count Sefira

Why do some count the Omer before Aleinu and some after?
5
votes
1answer
138 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?
5
votes
2answers
327 views

Why does the Rabbi face the congregation during prayer?

In nearly every shul I've been in the Rav of the shul sits up near the aron kodesh and faces towards the congregation instead of facing east. I assume this is in keeping with halacha (as mentioned in ...
5
votes
1answer
437 views

Rules for Selichot when the minyan isn't complete at start time

If the shul doesn't have a full minyan at the time when Selichot is supposed to start, and waiting for a minyan to gather before starting is not an option, what are the rules for what you say or don't ...
5
votes
4answers
226 views

Halachically, are you allowed to “remove” a sick person from the Mi Sheberach “list”?

In my shul, people mention or write the name of a sick person on a slip of paper and give this to the rabbi who adds it to an existing stack of names. Since I am the Torah reader, I announce Mi ...
5
votes
2answers
200 views

Do we say “Ma Tovu” each time we enter the synagogue?

There is a custom to say the paragraph “מה טובו” on entering the synagogue (see “Avodah Shebelev” Rabbi A Z Sternbuch, 5753, page 18). The idea (but without the possuk of “Ma Tovu”) is mentioned in ...
5
votes
1answer
59 views

Berith Millah in a different section of the Shul - Do you say Tahanun?

Are you supposed to say Tahanun if there is a Berith Millah being held in a different section of the Shul (eg., different Minyan being held in a different room)?
5
votes
1answer
126 views

Definition of Beit Hakneset area [with respect to tachanun]

Shulchan Aruch O"CH 131:4 says that we don't say Tachanun where there is a Chatan in the syagogue: (see also this related question) (Note: I mention here Chatan because it's clearly mentioned, but ...
5
votes
3answers
246 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
112 views

Does the rebbetzin (rabbi's wife) have a special seat in the ezras nashim (women's side of the synagogue)?

Usually the rabbi gets a special seat. I'd seen the Pnei Yehoshua's contract in Berlin 200+ years ago specify a special seat for his wife as well, but is anyone aware of shuls today that do that?
5
votes
2answers
255 views

Going into a Reform synagogue to take a test

In the following question "Orthodox Visits to Other Denomination Sanctuaries" it discusses whether one may go into a Reform or Conservative synagogue for prayer and/or a wedding. Is one allowed to go ...
5
votes
1answer
109 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?
5
votes
1answer
88 views

If no-one went to synagogue on Friday night, do the people at home sing “Sholom Aleichem”?

The Ashkenazi custom is to sing “Sholom Aleichem” when returning home on Friday night from the synagogue. The reason is related to the ministering angels who accompany a person home on Friday night ...
5
votes
1answer
123 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 ...
5
votes
0answers
157 views

Why no 15-minutes-early clause in English rabbis' contracts?

Rabbi Yitzchak Reuven Rubin wrote in 2001: In fact, it wasn't long ago that every rabbi in England was required by contract to "present himself fifteen minutes before the time of Divine worship." ...
5
votes
0answers
62 views

Why does the depiction of the tablets not contain the full wording?

In every single synagogue I've been in which has a depiction of the ten commandments on tablets, not a single one of them had all the words of the commandments fully written out. Usually they have the ...
5
votes
0answers
55 views

Can a synagogue appropriate the contents of charity boxes not removed before a specified time?

There are lots of charity boxes from different organisations put out on a table in the foyer of our synagogue on Purim. The wardens have attached a note that says that boxes not taken away by the end ...
5
votes
0answers
71 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
353 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
264 views

Talking during Torah reading

Is one permitted to talk during the communal Torah reading?
4
votes
2answers
135 views

Whence the minhag to light in shul by day?

In pretty much every shul and yeshiva I've been in has lit Chanukah candles by shacharis, the same number of candles that were lit the night before. What is the source for this custom, and why is it ...
4
votes
2answers
210 views

Can you daven with minyan when you have the flu?

Are you allowed to go daven with a minyan when you have the flu or other highly contagious illness? Is it considered potentially damaging someone else's health, or are the chances of someone else ...
4
votes
1answer
171 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!)?
4
votes
2answers
210 views

דע לפני מי אתה עומד on the ark

In some shuls it says on the ark, "Da Lifnei Mi Atah Omeid." Is there any source from which that comes?
4
votes
2answers
150 views

The “Canon” - Basic Sefarim for a Shul Library?

Our shul library has been neglected for many, many years, and b'h' we are finally cleaning and organizing it. We have some great books, but I'd like to know of some resources identifying important ...
4
votes
1answer
72 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
2answers
114 views

Prayer in the “House of the One”

I recently read this article on the new "House of the One". The building will feature three separated spaces for prayer: a mosque, a church, and a synagogue. There will be a central courtyard, but ...
4
votes
1answer
102 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 ...