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30
votes
3answers
5k 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 ...
18
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
17
votes
2answers
206 views

Making the Kohen's Gesture

Is it forbidden for a non-Kohen to form the hand formation that Kohanim use during their priestly blessings?
16
votes
1answer
881 views

Killing somebody with the keys to the synagogue

In Yoreh Deah 339:1, the mechaber brings a variety of things that one is not permitted to do to a goses (a person on the brink of death), since each of these things causes the goses to die sooner. ...
16
votes
3answers
810 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 ...
16
votes
2answers
473 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 ...
15
votes
1answer
242 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) ...
14
votes
3answers
499 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 ...
14
votes
2answers
877 views

What halachic issues are involved in turning off a mobile phone while praying the quiet Amidah?

A person realises during his quiet Amidah, that he has not turned off his mobile phone. He is worried lest it ring while he is praying. On the other hand, turning it off will interfere with his ...
13
votes
4answers
491 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
1answer
554 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
193 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?
12
votes
1answer
177 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
240 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?
11
votes
2answers
142 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?
11
votes
1answer
228 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
372 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
622 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
196 views

Proper age to take a child to Shul

What is the proper age for children to begin being taken to Shul?
10
votes
2answers
225 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?
10
votes
4answers
194 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?
10
votes
2answers
227 views

Do men on the women's side count toward a minyan?

If men are on the women's side of the shul during davening when there are no women there, do they count toward the minyan, or are they considered separate? Does it matter if the women's area is right ...
10
votes
1answer
107 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
122 views

If a mourner comes to services late, in the middle of the kaddish, has he missed that kaddish?

I'm saying kaddish for my mother-in-law. Occassionally, I walk into shul and the congregation is already in the middle of the Rabbi's Kaddish (say at Y'he sh'may raba"). Can I join in that kaddish at ...
9
votes
6answers
864 views

What do I need to know in order to properly have an aliya?

What things should I know in advance in case I get called up for an aliya during a Torah-reading service?
9
votes
5answers
921 views

Can a gentile pray in a synagogue?

I am an 18 year old male interested in converting to Judaism, I have been reading the Tanakh amongst other things and have been learning more about the religion. My question pertains as to whether or ...
9
votes
2answers
132 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
1k 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?
8
votes
1answer
399 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?
8
votes
3answers
107 views

Torah studies at Synagogue

How do we make studying Torah by adults a central part of our synagogue?
8
votes
2answers
361 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?
8
votes
1answer
101 views

Source for shuls flying in yemos hamoshiach?

My son mentioned to me that he learned in school that when Moshiach comes all the shuls (and schools?) will miraculously fly to Eretz Yisroel. What is the source of this idea?
8
votes
2answers
119 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: ...
8
votes
2answers
120 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
109 views

Can anyone help me find resources for the content and organization of a shul library?

Our shul library has been neglected for many, many years, and b'h' we are finally cleaning and organizing it. I am used to using a library, not organizing it! So I wonder if anyone can give me some ...
7
votes
2answers
4k 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
1answer
173 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
167 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
506 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
130 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
1answer
76 views

Best practices for well-circulating Hoshanot

What can a congregation or an individual chazzan do to make the Hoshanot work as well as possible, logistically? I've been to many Sukkot services, especially on Hoshana Raba (HR), in which the ...
7
votes
0answers
40 views

Do you have to consider neighbors when building a shul?

Are there any halachic obligations to consider the averse effects that building a shul may have on Jewish neighbors? This may include things like lowering property value, noise and other disturbances, ...
6
votes
3answers
460 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
100 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
2answers
55 views

Do mourners change their seats in shul today?

The g'mara on Moed Katan 23a says that after shiva, when the mourner stays at home, he can return to shul but does not sit in his usual seat. (According to this g'mara, he returns to his usual seat a ...
6
votes
3answers
329 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
1answer
2k 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
381 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. ...
6
votes
2answers
182 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 ...