25

Based on the Sefer ha-Hassidim there was a belief that the souls of the dead would pray in the synagogue at night when no one was around... based on that it appears that the belief arose in Eastern Europe that placing the key to the synagogue beneath the pillow of the goses would help his soul escape the body as it would be stirred to join up with the other ...


20

Likely, it is an acronym for קְהִילָה קְדוֹשָה k'hila k'dosha (lit: holy congregation), a title for Jewish communities whose use dates back to the Talmud (Tamid 27b).


20

In Lma'an Yishme'u #267 (page 2) Rabbi Chaim Hillel Raskin says that it is a Halachic obligation to quiet or turn off a cell phone before starting to Daven. If he did not, and his cell phone rings, he is allowed to quiet or turn off the phone to ensure that no one will be disturbed further. Although he doesn't specifically address a situation where it hasn'...


19

I'm not widely traveled, but I've been to a bunch of different synagogues of all the major flavors, often as one-offs, including C and MO, so I'm answering on the basis of that experience. First visit You can just show up. Many of the factors that affect you are the same between Conservative and Modern Orthodox synagogues. The Conservative synagogue you'...


18

You are a very responsible and respectful person for inquiring about whether wearing your current clothes would be disrespectful or not to the synagogue. I really have to hand it to you, not everyone is that respectful. It depends on what day of the week you plan on visiting to the synagogue. If you're planning on visiting during a weekday, then your normal ...


17

Yes. The Jerusalem Talmud (Tractate Megillah) quotes Rav Imi telling his assistant that if a scholar should visit and need to sleep in the Synagogue, he should let him, and allow him to bring his donkey and other objects in as well. This opinion is codified in the Ran in Tractate Megillah. Rav Moshe Feinstein in his Responsa writes, ...


16

It's something like that, based on my observations of my local Reform and Conservative communities. What I notice in particular with the Conservative daily minyan is that there are some regulars, some people who just come to say kaddish, and some people who initially came to say kaddish (for a month or for a year; I don't mean one day) and then stuck around. ...


15

Yashar koach on becoming more involved in Jewish life. We can't say what they will do (only they can answer that), but I'll address how you can approach it. You are Jewish because your mother is (and she is because her mother is, etc). Your parents (and grandparents) having had secular weddings doesn't affect that, though it could affect other matters of ...


15

This is actually an interesting question. The Department of the Interior's Office of Archeology and Historic Preservation (in its Historic American Buildings Survey) records (in 1972): The bema, or central reading desk, is surrounded by a balustrade with turned and tapered balusters and a heavy, molded rail. A trap door leading to an escape hatch and tunnel ...


14

Quite aside from any issues of appearance (which I understand to be quite serious, among the Orthodox, with respect to non-Orthodox services), you will not be yotzei because they will not do the prayers fully and in the manner you expect. Customs vary, but I've been going to Reform services for years and have visited a few different synagogues, and here's ...


13

(This answer has been moved from the comment section and reworded a little bit.) I would recommend going to a Saturday morning service over a Friday evening service for a first time experience. Friday evening is very sweet but short, and you won't really be able to get a good sense of what a service is all about. Plus, you get to see the Torah Reading ...


13

The Babylonian Talmud (M'gila, page 3 column 1) relates in the name of Ravina: One who is afraid [for no apparent reason] — although he doesn't see [anything], his mazal sees [something]. The commentary of Rashi explains that "mazal" here refers to the person's angel. And the commentary Ben Y'hoyada explains that what his mazal sees (and he's afraid of) ...


12

Rav Moshe in his Igros Moshe EH 2:17 second paragraph he seems to make it clear that for davening it is for sure assur, and even when it is a wedding an Orthodox person should not go. This tshuva was regarding Conservative synagogues; I am guessing that all the more so this would apply to Reform.


12

Refer to Kings I chap. 8 v 41-42. After completing the building of the First Temple in Jerusalem, King Solomon prays to God: "Also to the stranger who is not from the nation of Israel who comes (to visit the Temple) from a far-away land for the sake of your name. For they will hear of your name and your strong hand and outstretched arm and he will come and ...


11

Gentiles can certainly attend synagogue services on Shabbat (or at any other time). I know many converts and all of them were required by their rabbis to start doing this fairly early on in the process. Conversion is in part about joining a community, so you'd better get to know it. Also, while you can practice prayers on your own, you need the experience ...


11

Judaism 101 writes, Judaism does not prohibit writing the Name of God per se; it prohibits only erasing or defacing a Name of God. However, observant Jews avoid writing any Name of God casually because of the risk that the written Name might later be defaced, obliterated or destroyed accidentally or by one who does not know better. The engraving ...


11

The Rama to Orach Chayim 135:2 writes that if a whole tzibbur missed last weeks laining they should lain both this weeks parsha and last weeks. With regards to a tzibbur missing many shabbasim it is a machlokes. The Mishna Brurah 135:6 brings both opinion. One holds that they make up every single week missed,and according to the other opinion the tzibbur ...


10

Eliezer Eisenberg here, author of that post. The source is the Mekor Chaim, written by the author of the better known Chavos Yair, Rav Yair Bachrach, in Orach Chaim 151:5. I generally included citations, but I wanted to avoid that sort of thing in that particular post.


10

I was, for a while, unofficially in charge of my synagogue's library, and we had it organized as follows (as well as I can recall). The guiding principle was that things should be where people will look for them. Sidurim for daily use had their own section. (Sections, really, in more than one place in the room.) The non-standard ones, not used by most ...


10

A synagogue is a Jewish house of prayer. The term refers to both the building and the institution. You'll also hear the Yiddish word shul, which is actually derived from "school" but has come to mean "synagogue". Some liberal Jews also use the word "temple" to refer to a synagogue. Usually it's used as a semi-proper noun, e.g. "are you going to temple ...


10

I don't know if there's such a system available at the moment but I came across a project on Kickstarter [ JPal ] that aims to automate this process. According to the developers people can create a minyan "on demand" and have users who plan on being in the area notified of the new minyan. The app tracks participants in real time and displays all the ...


10

In sefardi communities, it is very common for parents to kiss their children, and for men to kiss each other, e.g., as congratulations after an alyah laTorah. That surprised me and I had looked up the halacha. R Ari Enkin writes here on the topic and explains it according to the Kaf Hachaim ruling It is permitted, however, to kiss the hand of one's ...


9

I actually have heard of this minhag before, although I have never seen an ostrich egg in a synagogue myself. It was a fairly common symbol in both Christianity and Islam, and so churches and mosques would frequently have ostrich eggs in them as well (see this book, for example). The symbolism is largely what has been mentioned above with regard to the (...


9

When I was an aveil (for each of my parents), I changed my seat for the entire year. That is also the general minhag in my shul. This included Shabbosa as my new seat became my makom kavua for that year. After the year I returned to my normal seat. Our shul is somewhat "Yeshivish" on the East coast of the United States (Baltimore). I consider us somewhat to ...


9

I wholly agree with Monica's excellent answer, but I would like to point out another phenomenon. Many non-Orthodox Jews go through a portion of their adult lives without giving much thought to religious practice. A traumatic event like the death of a parent can cause them to re-evaluate their lives. They may see the end of the long chain of familial ...


8

JPal should solve this issue. Please check this thread on SE: Davening with a Minyan in China Details: Minyan On Demand let's you create a minyan anywhere in the world and instantly have thousands of users notified. Ideal for international business travels and anyone looking to pray with a minyan where there's no permanent minyan available.


8

http://www.minyanman.co.za/ is a Minyan management tool. Minyan Manager is a community service to help people manage business minyanim. We know how useful it is having a mincha minyan at work but how time consuming it is to manage it, as well as how frustrating when people come and yet a minyan is not present. We hope this will reduce the ...


8

The proprietors of goDaven were kind enough to supply me, for the purposes of answering this question, with their table of 5,960 mincha and/or maariv services. I used a Perl script to extract 1,046 where weekday mincha both preceded maariv and was listed as a certain number of minutes before sunset, p'lag, tzes, or candle-lighting time. Because some times ...


8

Well, what's reasonably walkable? Probably about 2 kilometers or so. Another significant factor -- if the synagogue's neighborhood has an eruv, it's reasonable for a rabbi to expect people to move within the eruv -- it will be far easier to observe shabbos if you can carry in the neighborhood (especially if most of the locals are used to doing so). Take ...


8

Tosefta Megila 3:14 says that the elders would sit facing the congregation. As per DoubleAA's comment this is codified in Orach Chaim 150:5. The question is really on the Rabbis that do not do so. Kav Chaim 1 says the reason the front row faces the congregation is since the Bima is in the center of the Synagogue and that is where the Torah is read, that ...


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