Are there any particular Jewish communities where the congregants remove their shoes before entering the Beit Kneset?

2 Answers 2


In the Paradesi Synagogue in Kochi, India, everyone is required to remove their shoes upon entering.

Source: My wife and her family's personal experiences and Wikipedia.


Many Karaite communities pray barefoot in deference to Exodus 3:5.

It was the standard practice of Rabbinic Synagogues of the Middle east to take off their shoes. But as the modern European culture became the norm in the Middle East, people started wearing nice leather shoes and keeping them on. This same development occurred with prostration. Originally practiced by both the Rabbinic and Karaite Jews of the Middle East, the practice was abandoned by the Rabbinates as the influence of European clothing and chairs spread into their Synagogues.

Source for Karaites: https://books.google.com/books?id=hGILHIgEl7cC&pg=PA139&lpg=PA139&dq=karaites+barefoot&source=bl&ots=IVPlYDG5J6&sig=dToqSbroNIVSApzy50PwkG7Mq5k&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwikxNmh4rHKAhVWz2MKHeSbDHYQ6AEIHjAA#v=onepage&q=karaites%20barefoot&f=false

Source for other Mizrahi Communities: Rashbash No. 285, Rambam (Mishneh Torah, Hilkhoth Tefillah 5:5, and for a general discussion see here

  • 1
    The Rambam didn't say that one shouldn't wear shoes, but one may not wear shoes Commented Jan 17, 2016 at 21:55
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    and it's not the Rashba but the Rashbash Commented Jan 17, 2016 at 21:56
  • @ShmuelBrin He gave an answer that would apply to people of all locales. In Europe it would be disrespectful to do things in bare feet. But in the middle east, where Muslims pray bare footed, it is considered the most respectful thing to do
    – Aaron
    Commented Jan 17, 2016 at 23:15
  • וכתב רבינו אם אין דרך אנשי המקום וכו'. כלומר לאפוקי כל בני הערב שעומדים לפני הגדולים ברגלים מגולות שאותם יכולים להתפלל בין ברגלים מגולות בין במכוסות וה"ה למקומות שרוב העולם מכסים רגליהם ואין מקפידים בשעומדין לפני הגדולים אם עומדין ברגלים מגולות או מכוסות דלענין תפלה נמי אין קפידא. ולשון רבינו מוכיח שאין קפידא לתפלה אלא במקום שמקפידים שלא לעמוד לפני גדולים ברגלים מגולות וכתבו בהגהות דאמרינן בחגיגה (דף י"ג:) לאו אורח ארעא לגלויי כרעיה קמי מאריה: Commented Jan 17, 2016 at 23:32
  • From the Kesef Mishna, which says that in the eastern lands one may pray with his feet uncovered. Not that he must. Commented Jan 17, 2016 at 23:34

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