As of May 31, 2023, we have updated our Code of Conduct.
20 votes
Accepted

What do I do if I do not have nice clothes to wear when visiting an Orthodox synagogue?

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 ...
ezra's user avatar
  • 18k
18 votes
Accepted

Can a service dog enter a Temple during service?

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 ...
Aaron's user avatar
  • 10.1k
16 votes
Accepted

Why do many non-Orthodox Jews come to shul regularly only after a parent's death?

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 ...
Monica Cellio's user avatar
16 votes
Accepted

Touro's Synagogue's trap door

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 ...
HodofHod's user avatar
  • 20.9k
15 votes

Joining a synagogue after two generations non-practising

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 (...
Monica Cellio's user avatar
13 votes
Accepted

Are Synagogues "holy ground," offering protection from evil creatures?

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 ...
msh210's user avatar
  • 73.6k
11 votes
Accepted

Davening with a Minyan in China

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 ...
David Lynch's user avatar
11 votes
Accepted

No kissing one's young children. What about kissing others?

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 ...
mbloch's user avatar
  • 44.7k
11 votes
Accepted

Catching up the missing weeks of Krias Hatorah

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 ...
sam's user avatar
  • 40.3k
10 votes
Accepted

Is it acceptable for a Gentile to attend a service at a Synagogue without intent of conversion?

We've had related questions from prospective converts and one that asks specifically how to behave in a particular group's shul. This answer will overlap with answers there, but I'm going to focus ...
Monica Cellio's user avatar
9 votes

Why do many non-Orthodox Jews come to shul regularly only after a parent's death?

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 ...
Mike's user avatar
  • 5,165
8 votes
Accepted

In an average shul, how long before sunset does a combined weekday Mincha/Maariv service start?

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 ...
msh210's user avatar
  • 73.6k
8 votes

Online tool for minyan management?

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 ...
Arkin's user avatar
  • 324
8 votes

Are Synagogues "holy ground," offering protection from evil creatures?

Also to the contrary, see Talmud Kiddushin 29b, where the story is told of a demon that attacked people who entered the study hall. הוה ההוא מזיק בי רבנן דאביי דכי הוו עיילי בתרין אפי' ביממא הוו ...
AKA's user avatar
  • 81
8 votes
Accepted

What is the Punishment for talking in Shul?

The Mishna Berurah (124:27) quotes the Elya Rabbah (124:12, that is himself quoting the Kol Bo) that a number of shuls ended up being destroyed on account of talking during davening: מנשוא - כתב בא&...
Abraham J. Friedman's user avatar
8 votes

How many rabbis does a synagogue have and what is their role?

This answer is based on my experience only, which is primarily with Orthodox synagogues. Many synagogues have many members who happen to have completed the requisite course of study and become rabbis,...
msh210's user avatar
  • 73.6k
8 votes

How did they use to sleep in the shul?

The Shaarim Metzuyanim Bhalacha page 264 writes that it is lav davaka that he slept in the shul, but rather slept in a room near the shul. Text:
sam's user avatar
  • 40.3k
7 votes

Ostrich eggs in Shul?

The Etz Chaim Synagogue in Chania, Crete has ostrich eggs hanging from its main chandelier (can be seen here).
Uriel G's user avatar
  • 71
7 votes

Are Synagogues "holy ground," offering protection from evil creatures?

Somewhat to the contrary, there was a superstition among Easter European Jews that the dead held services in synagogues at night, a “minyan macabre” if you will. My grandfather z"l told me how in his ...
J. C. Salomon's user avatar
7 votes
Accepted

Comprehensive map/list of active Orthodox synagogues in the U.S

Check out this site. Click on each state to get cities and then click on each city to get a list of just about (if not all) the minyanim in that city.
KolHashoneh18's user avatar
7 votes
Accepted

In Yemenite Nusach, what are the differences between Shami and Baladi?

The Shami nusach is accepting concepts brought from the Ari z"l. The Baladi nusach follows the older Yemenite tradition. For many Jews from Yemen, they do not want any innovations from their older ...
Yaacov Deane's user avatar
  • 13.4k
7 votes

When can I attend service (Shabbat) after seminal emission?

The problem, as I understand it, is that your struggle is causing you to be distanced from normal, healthy mitzva behavior. Dr. Yocheved Debow writes about this phenomenon in her guide for educators.. ...
Shalom's user avatar
  • 129k
7 votes

how to get the Youth to come to shul

People in general come for a consistent experience that they value. Kids come either because they're forced or because it's something the family values. So unless you have a super-strong youth ...
Monica Cellio's user avatar
7 votes

Rashbi and Talking in Shul

The source you are looking for is in the Zohar, parashat Teruma, 131b, traditionally attributed to Rashbi: ומאן דמשתעי בבי כנישתא במילין דחול, ווי ליה דאחזי פרודא, ווי ליה דגרע מהימנותא, ווי ליה ...
Aryeh's user avatar
  • 11.2k
7 votes
Accepted

Source for the tradition of buying seats in synagogues

The gemara in brachos 6 already mentions the importance of having a specific shul to daven in (some meforshim),and to have a specific seat(other meforshim). The earliest I know of is in teshuvos ...
sam's user avatar
  • 40.3k
7 votes

How did they use to sleep in the shul?

It is worth noting that a talmid chacham is allowed to sleep in shul. The Mishna Berurah over there on the Shulchan Aruch that you cite writes: טו) אין ישנים וכו' - ומיירי באנשים דעלמא אבל לת"ח ...
Dov's user avatar
  • 25.4k
6 votes

Can a Woman be a Shul President? How about a member of Knesset?

Most halakhic discussions on the topic start with the Rambam in MT Melachim 1:5 (quoted above in comments) We may not appoint a woman as king. When describing the monarchy, the Torah employs the ...
mbloch's user avatar
  • 44.7k
6 votes

Guitar during public weekday prayers

In describing the synagogues of Bavel in the Twelfth Century, R. Petachia of Ratisbon wrote as follows: בחולו של מועד אומרים המזמורים בכלי שיר On the half-holidays they recite the psalms to the ...
Alex's user avatar
  • 48.7k
6 votes

Walking between women

First of all, it's not so obvious that this is prohibited in the first place. Pesachim 111a says that a person is not allowed to walk between two woman or have a woman walk between you (a man) and a ...
הנער הזה's user avatar
6 votes

Is there a correct place for the bima

A story involving R. Shmuel Salant, R. Seligmann Baer Bamberger, and R. Yosef Carlebach is relevant to the history of the placement, the reason for the placement its connections to Reform, and the ...
mevaqesh's user avatar
  • 35.3k

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible