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 gentile/Noahide or prospective convert with regards to shul access? My question is about halacha and morals (and not about local laws): is it morally justifiable and halachically sanctioned?

  • @MahaliaSamuels Do you mean to ask whether a shul can deny access to a non-Jew because he is a non-Jew?
    – Daniel
    Commented Aug 21, 2013 at 19:57
  • It is very common in places when the community is in jeopardy
    – Wlanez
    Commented Aug 21, 2013 at 20:13
  • See also judaism.stackexchange.com/q/18995.
    – msh210
    Commented Aug 21, 2013 at 21:23
  • Are you talking about a shul that is private property?
    – A L
    Commented Aug 28, 2013 at 3:07
  • 1
    Isaiah 56 may help answer this question for you.
    – charles S
    Commented Sep 5, 2018 at 14:15

1 Answer 1


It was my understanding that Gentiles were allowed to bring certain sacrifices--kosher of course--to the Holy Temple. Since prayer is, at least in part, a substitution for the korbans, why would a non-Jew not be allowed to pray in a synagogue. Of course there are many practical reasons why they should not be allowed into a synagogue for prayer but the question above assumes a non-Jew who is sincere about learning about Judaism for positive reasons such as converting.

Full disclosure: I am a volunteer member of my very well known Modern Orthodox synagogues Shabbat/Yom Tov security team. A person who is "obviously" not Jewish would not likely gain entry into the building but would certainly be encouraged to contact the office via phone during the work week and ask to speak with the rabbi. My previous synagogue actually allowed a technically non-Jewish man pray. He wanted to honor his Jewish father by reciting Kaddish. The man was in attendance seven days a week saying Kaddish and davening. Our Hasidish rabbi allowed him to prayer. The man was not however counted as part of the minyan.

  • I believe they could send in offerings but had to stay outside and send them via emmisarry. Search Google for "Soreg inscription"
    – Double AA
    Commented Aug 26, 2013 at 19:44
  • Thank you Double AA. i think you may be right. Do you then think that if a sincere non-Jew purchased, say an Art Scroll Siddur, and davened at home, it would be acceptable? Should he actually be encouraged by a Jew to do so in lieu of praying in a shul?
    – JJLL
    Commented Aug 26, 2013 at 19:46
  • Thank you. The reason I posted this question is that despite my repeated calls and requests to visit a shul, they have not yet said I can visit. I don't know why. I really want to convert, I went into debt to move into walking distance of this shul and I'm not a secret 'Messianic'. I have since been attending services at a Reform shul because that beats staying at home, but I don't feel that I'm getting the full picture + there are too many 'Messianics' there.
    – Malka S
    Commented Aug 27, 2013 at 7:26
  • Mahalia. I admire your efforts to explore Judaism. May I suggest that you do not give up. Continue to make effort to reach someone in the synagogue. Pursue it. I highly suggest that you convert under Orthodox auspices. Conservative and Reform conversions are not universally accepted and will have enormous implications for your children. In the meantime, contact major Judaica stores such as Eichlers and Judaica Place, both in Brooklyn, NY and tell staff of your goals. ask their advise for books on basic Judaism. It will help you in reaching your goal. I wish you much success.
    – JJLL
    Commented Aug 27, 2013 at 13:14
  • @user3142 Thank you for your reply and your encouragement.
    – Malka S
    Commented Aug 28, 2013 at 7:29

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