Questions tagged [synagogue]

house of Jewish prayer

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12
votes
3answers
20k 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 ...
15
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2answers
3k 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 privately 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. Occasionally I have driven into ...
43
votes
4answers
13k 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 ...
13
votes
1answer
15k 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 ...
12
votes
4answers
5k 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 ...
23
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
17
votes
3answers
992 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 see a ...
20
votes
4answers
2k views

What was the shape of the Luchot?

According to the Talmud in Bava Batra 14a, the Luchot HaBrit were square. As a side note, I have seen those "correctly-modeled Luchot" in the Shteblach of Meah Shearim. Where did the common "tablet" ...
12
votes
2answers
6k 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 ...
3
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1answer
606 views

Walking out of shul backwards

When leaving shul after davening, I've seen some people walking out backwards. Is this a halacha?
7
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2answers
2k 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 -...
12
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2answers
336 views

Auctioning/Sale of Kibbudim on Shabbat / Yom Tov

Many synagogues have the practice of selling kibbudim (i.e. aliyot, haftorah, opening the ark, etc.) on major holidays, usually via auction. I've been to some shuls where this is done every Shabbat. ...
22
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4answers
4k 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
611 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
5k 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
551 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 first ...
8
votes
1answer
718 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
542 views

Talking during Torah reading

Is one permitted to talk during the communal Torah reading?
5
votes
5answers
572 views

Sources to encourage returning s'farim to their places

Hanging signs saying the above was not enough to make people in my synagogue put back the s'farim they have used into the bookcases. What other mitzvos could I bring on my next edition of the signs?
5
votes
1answer
85 views

Does the congregation recite certain sections of the prayers if a mourner is in the synagogue?

This morning, a mourner (in Shiva period) appeared in my shul. Art Scroll Ashkenaz siddur, among others, most likely, indicate that in a house of mourning, Tachanun is omitted and in Uva Letziyon, ...
18
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2answers
1k views

Halachot of Shul Mechitzot

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 ...
12
votes
2answers
224 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
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3answers
600 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 ...
8
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2answers
595 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
496 views

Guitar during public weekday prayers

Is anyone aware of any halakhic opinion regarding the playing of musical instruments, guitar for example, in shul on a weekday, not Shabbos. Does it have the same religious stigma and opposition as ...
6
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9answers
2k views

Digital Synagogue displays? [closed]

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
190 views

Should the shaliah tzibur and congregation face the direction the Aron points if it isn't pointing toward Jerusalem?

If the rear of the Aron points in any direction other than toward Jerusalem, which way should the shaliah tzibur and congregation face -when praying the Amidah? -during the rest of tefillah? Do the ...
3
votes
1answer
263 views

Could the minhag of lighting menorah in Shuls have developed from when guests would stay in Shul?

Could the minhag (=custom) of lighting menorah in synagogues have developed from when guests would stay in the synagogue? Does anyone bring this as a source for the minhag? If so, would it not apply ...
2
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7answers
771 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
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2answers
202 views

Questions related to shul structure

I am seeking sources related to the origin of the physical structure of a shul. Specifically: Placement of the ark in the front of the shul. Torah reader's bimah - I've seen 3 arrangements: Most ...
14
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6answers
3k 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?
10
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3answers
546 views

Davening with a Minyan in China

I regularly travel to China (and other countries) for business purposes. I know there are other Jewish travelers who do the same which I sometimes meet on the way. I think that if we have the right ...
12
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2answers
327 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 ...
16
votes
6answers
442 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?
13
votes
2answers
454 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
853 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
627 views

Do Orthodox synagogues have audio induction loops? Can they use them on Shabbat?

Let's assume we follow Rabbi Moshe Feinstein's ruling that hearing aids are permitted on Shabbat, but microphones are not. What about installing an audio induction loop in the synagogue? It would ...
7
votes
2answers
642 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
318 views

Pirkei Avos on shabbos during mincha?

It seems clear from the Rama, MB, and other sources (as well as from most printed siddurim) that Pirkei Avos is said in the synagogue at Shabbos Mincha as part of the tefillah in the summer months, ...
6
votes
2answers
508 views

Why does the Rabbi face the congregation during prayer?

In nearly every shul I've been in the Rav of the shul sits up near the aron kodesh and faces towards the congregation instead of facing east. I assume this is in keeping with halacha (as mentioned in ...
16
votes
1answer
513 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) ...
9
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2answers
337 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
2answers
536 views

Do we say “Ma Tovu” each time we enter the synagogue?

There is a custom to say the paragraph “מה טובו” on entering the synagogue (see “Avodah Shebelev” Rabbi A Z Sternbuch, 5753, page 18). The idea (but without the possuk of “Ma Tovu”) is mentioned in ...
6
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5answers
1k views

Why is there a Mezuzah in Shul

Why do Shuls have Mezuzahs if they don't need them?
6
votes
1answer
161 views

What references, if any, are there to synagogues or non-temple organized worship in the ancient Israel

Synagogue worship appears to be relatively common in the Christian New Testament (although perhaps little is known about what actually went on in the synagogues, I don't know a whole lot of details). ...
6
votes
2answers
340 views

My hands are cold in synagogue. May I put them in my pockets? May I wear gloves?

If my hands are cold when praying in synagogue: 1) may I put them in my pockets? Is it just disrespectful, as I was brought up to think, or are there more important issues? 2) may I wear gloves? (...
5
votes
1answer
51 views

Can a Bimah be placed on the sides, front, or back of a shul?

In my Yeshiva, the Bimah is somewhat central to the Beis Midrash: several rows of seating in front, then several more rows behind it, the entire column being directly behind the Aron. However, in my ...
5
votes
1answer
168 views

Is it more preferable to pray with concentration alone or with a minyan in shul?

There's a בית כנסת nearby that has מנינים every half hour between 6:00am until 9:20am. There's another one that has two מנינים, one at 6:40am and one at 7:40am. The בית כנסת that goes later has one ...
5
votes
2answers
225 views

Whence the minhag to light in shul by day?

In pretty much every shul and yeshiva I've been in has lit Chanukah candles by shacharis, the same number of candles that were lit the night before. What is the source for this custom, and why is it ...
3
votes
2answers
438 views

Exactly how should the shaliach bow for Barachu?

In every synagogue I have been in, the shaliach zibur has bowed in some way at Barachu. I presume there must be a foundation for this. If so, there should be a correct way to bow. I am seeking clarity ...