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).


19

The luchot are a 1 amah cube of sapphire (6x6x6 tefachim) (Baba Basra 14a) 3x6x6 tefachim individually (Baba Basra 14a) The writing filled each side ("tradition". I think I saw this in a Gemara too) There are more words in the first 5 commandments, so the letters were a smaller size to fit.(Mabit) The letters were carved straight through the luchot. (Shmot ...


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'...


19

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'...


18

Well, here's what comes to mind. Bowing is not reserved for G-d. There are many cases in the Bible when prominent Jews bowed to kings such as the prophet Natan bowing to David (Melachim 1:1:23) and Yosef’s brothers bowing to Yosef (Breishit 42:6). Even Avraham (Breishit 18:2) bowed to strangers whom he suspected of being idolaters (Rashi to verse 4). ...


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

Indeed, the Lubavitcher Rebbe zt"l (sicha of Shabbos Parshas Ki Tisa 5741 secs. 55-57) called for them to always be depicted as square, in keeping with the Gemara you mentioned. (And Chabad publications long before that, as far back as 1942 at least, followed the same convention.) He states that shape with rounded tops was popularized by non-Jewish printers....


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

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, ...


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 ...


14

Rabbi J.H. Henkin has an excellent essay, going from the Talmudic sources to his interpretation of modern-day requirements. I strongly recommend you start there. (Link is to Google Books; many good libraries have this book in English. I believe this essay is based on material he's previously published in She'elot UTeshuvot Bnei Banim, which is available as ...


14

In this shiur by Rabbi Yonason Roodyn (17:26) he quotes the Rif that can be taken to mean that there is an obligation for gentiles to cover their heads in a synagogue.


14

The Rema 139:11 says To say Chazak from the passuk in Yehoshua that says Chazak vametz .The passuk before it says that Torah should not leave your mouth and it will be a blessing for you. So there are those who say Chazak u'baruch and others answer Chazak vametz. The Kaf Hachaim 139:56 brings down the minhag to say Chazak U'baruch from this Rema.


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 ...


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

There is no actual halakhic obligation for even a Jew to wear a kipa. The brakha in the morning (which is to be recited upon doing the action) "`oter Yisrael batifara" is recited upon wrapping a turban. See Mishne Torah hilkhoth tefilla pereq zen. Over time in Ashkenazi galut, various customs changed and wearing a kipa became the accepted practice. This is ...


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 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) ...


10

Chabad Houses As I understand the Shul is generally owned by the Shliach (he sets up a (or uses an existing) non-profit for the legal aspects, but it's almost completely in his hands). This is done for several reasons: AFAIK, most shuls generally exists by virtue of the community. Baalei Battim who live in a certain neighborhood make a shul, then they look ...


10

The Nitei Gavriel - Purim Perek 11 #4 brings from the Yalkut Avraham Siman 686, that the Minhag was to put the משנכנס sign over the Zecher L'Charban area, since it is a Zeman Simcha. Regarding hanging a Mishenechnas sign in the Shul - see page 262 - that the Minhag was to hang it on the Western wall of the Shul - where often that is where the entrance is. ...


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

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 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

Are you obligated to stay for the next minyan's Torah reading? According to the Rama (OC 55:2), if you are not the tenth man in their minyan, you are allowed to leave. What if you're the tenth man in their minyan? The Mishna Berura (there, #12) writes that even if you are the tenth man, you only have to stay to the end of that particular section of ...


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