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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
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 ...
16
votes
4answers
696 views

Orthodox Visits to Other Denomination Sanctuaries

Why is it that some people won't set foot in another's sanctuary, even if it was for a non-prayer function? Can an orthodox person be in a reform style temple sanctuary for a lecture or concert? I ...
11
votes
4answers
407 views

What's a good technique for a not-so-strong person to do [Ashkenazi] Hagbaha?

I've seen many people shy away when asked to do Hagbaha (‏הגבהה‏), thinking themselves too weak. I know for a fact that it doesn't take that much strength to do it correctly, so I'd love to ...
13
votes
2answers
360 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 ...
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 ...
5
votes
2answers
415 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 ...
16
votes
3answers
654 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 ...
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 ...
2
votes
3answers
724 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 ...
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 ...
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) ...
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
318 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
396 views

I am not Jewish but would like to visit a MO synagogue to pray occasionally on Shabbat. What is the best course?

I have studied Judaism for five years privatley but also with the assistance of friends. There isn't a shul in the city where I live so most Shabbats I pray at home. Occasionaly I have driven into a ...
6
votes
2answers
280 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
200 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
187 views

Talking during Torah reading

Is one permitted to talk during the communal Torah reading?
9
votes
4answers
176 views

Online tool for minyan management?

If I'm running a small minyan that sometimes has a quorum and sometimes doesn't, and I'd like to only hold the minyan when I know we'll have ten, is there an online tool to help me manage this?
7
votes
2answers
117 views

Priority rules for abridging Selichot

If the minyan doesn't have enough time allotted for Selichot to finish everything listed in the Selichot book for today, so you need to cut some parts out, what are the rules of priority for what ...
4
votes
2answers
159 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 ...
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?
10
votes
3answers
227 views

Finding the quiet section of the synagogue

When you enter an unfamiliar synagogue, how do you find a seat in a section that's likely to have the least talking?
7
votes
2answers
317 views

What do I do when asked to “open the Aron” or “take out the Torah”?

If I'm in synagogue and someone asks me if I can "open the Aron" or "take out the Sefer Torah," what will I be expected to do, and when?
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 ...
6
votes
2answers
298 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
45 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
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 ...
5
votes
1answer
357 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
8answers
564 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
164 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
218 views

Does a synagogue have the right to dispose of objects abandoned there?

A particular synagogue has large numbers of abandoned tallesim and tefilin in the drawers in the chapel. Does the synagogue have the right to dispose of objects abandoned there? Does the law change ...
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 ...
4
votes
3answers
140 views

When to count Sefira

Why do some count the Omer before Aleinu and some after?
3
votes
1answer
108 views

Does the person who lights the Chanuka candle at Shul make a Shehechiyanu the first night if it's a Friday?

Suppose Chanuka started on Friday night. Everyone lights their Menorah prior to coming to Shul. When the person lights the Menora in Shul he already said Shehechiyanu in his house. Should he say it ...
2
votes
1answer
101 views

Making up a synagogue calendar manually is tedious work. Which software can do the calculations automatically?

The year 2014 starts soon. Lots of synagogues print up a customized calendar every year. (Sample.) Such a calendar includes shul-specific information (e.g. service times and maybe a weekly class or ...
2
votes
3answers
315 views

Why is there a Mezuzah in Shul

Why do Shuls have Mezuzahs if they don't need them?
2
votes
5answers
305 views

Yotzros and Musaf for the 4 Parshios

Are there any Nusach Ashkenaz Shuls that say Yotzros or Musaf on the weeks of the Four Parshios?
1
vote
1answer
119 views

“Meikeh” (fence on the roof) on a shul nowadays

It says in the Rambam that a Beis HaCanases (a special place for prayer which has many certain laws about it) is not required to have a "meikeh" (a fence on the roof). I believe the same is said in ...
1
vote
2answers
90 views

Standing for MiSheBerachs and certain other communal Tefilloth

In many congregations (especially the YU/OU/Young Israel affiliated) it is customary - sometimes even announced from the podium - to stand for the prayer for the State of Israel and the Israeli armed ...
1
vote
1answer
66 views

Are Shiurim (Classes) for Women common in Orthodox Synagogues?

Is it quite common at most Orthodox shuls for there to be a women's shiur presented by a female? What topics would generally be discussed?
1
vote
1answer
84 views

Is mundane speech allowed in shul?

Does anyone know the halacha regarding if one is allowed to talk in shul (divrei chulin) I'm not referring to times of prayer, but general even after prayer. Seems that mundane speech is forbidden ...
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 ...