Can a non-Jew participate in any of these shul honors?

  • opening / closing the ark
  • carrying the Torah to / from the bimah
  • hagbah (lifting the Torah) and / or gelilah (wrapping the Torah)
  • reciting / leading the singing of the ending prayer songs such as "Adon Olam" / "Yigdal"
  • gabbai (to distribute aliyot and other honors to other congregants and / or as one of those next to the Torah reader to correct possible mistakes)

The commonality in most of the above is that they do not involve the recital of congregational prayers. Adon Olam / Ygdal are at the end of the service, and from what I understand, supplements that are not considered the main part of Musaf.

  • Realted: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/76567/…
    – ezra
    Commented Dec 13, 2016 at 16:57
  • chabad.org/multimedia/media_cdo/aid/1291596/jewish/… - see answer posted July 24, 2012 Commented Dec 13, 2016 at 17:55
  • 1
    My inclination would be that it would be a bizui (insult) to the Torah and the congregation. However I do not have a source. Commented Dec 13, 2016 at 19:24
  • 2
    @sabbahillel Why are non-Jews insulting to the Torah?
    – Double AA
    Commented Dec 13, 2016 at 21:04
  • @DoubleAA - the Torah was not given to the non-Jews so having a non-Jew lift the Torah when there is a Jew present would be very insulting since it would be as if the Jew didn't care much for his gift (my opinion)
    – ezra
    Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 18:26

1 Answer 1


Take care: the quoted answer below from Rabbi Posner refers directly only to hagbah and he gives no source for his answer.

Chabad have an article on hagbah.

Someone commented on the article asking,

is a non jewish person allowed to do hagbah

I belong to a very small shul that only gets a minyan when we are lucky on Saturday morning. But, we get some people that are not Jewish who come to our shul on a regular basis, and are married to one of our congregant who is Jewish. Can they be allowed to do Hagbah or Galleh. In Mishneh Torah Chapter 10 Halacha 8 seems to allow this. Please respond as we are having a meeting this Thursday night about this subject.

But Rabbi Menachem Posner answers:

As you quote Maimonides, he does write that a non-Jew may hold a Torah. However, hagbah is part of the Jewish synagogue service, and that is something that must only be performed by a Jewish person.

The implication is that anything that is part of the Jewish synagogue service must only be performed by a Jewish person.

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