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20 votes
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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
  • 18.8k
16 votes
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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
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12 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
  • 53.1k
11 votes
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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
11 votes
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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

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
  • 42.2k
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

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
  • 322
8 votes
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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
  • 73.5k
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
  • 42.2k
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

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
  • 134k
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
  • 11.7k
7 votes
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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
  • 42.2k
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
  • 33.6k
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
  • 49.6k
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
  • 53.1k
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
  • 35.7k
6 votes
Accepted

Vilna Gaon's brother's on building a shul

This is found in addenda to the 1946 edition of Ma'alot HaTorah, (page 124: number 13) which contain statements attributed to him. This statement is attributed to R. Avraham, in the name of his ...
mevaqesh's user avatar
  • 35.7k
6 votes
Accepted

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

Regarding attending prayer services, the issue is not the ritual impurity. The issue is that Ezra promulgated a decree that a ba'al keri (one who had an emission) cannot recite Torah, prayers, etc. ...
Alex's user avatar
  • 49.6k
6 votes

Good dimensions for a Shulchan (Reading Table)

I'm unaware of any specific halachic dimensions that are required. However, in viewing the common "Ashkenazy" type shulchanot on this site it seems that their common dimensions are 150 cm x ...
DanF's user avatar
  • 70.7k
6 votes
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how to get the Youth to come to shul

Why do teenagers do anything? A few basic reasons: Their parents make them. Bribery. They get to see their friends. They get something out of the experience. You're heading straight for #4 and ...
Cyn's user avatar
  • 1,007
6 votes

Can purchasing tickets for high holidays services count as maaser?

TL;DR maybe yes... but it depends, should CYLOR just to be safe Rav Yosef Yeshaya Braun in a chabadinfo.com article titled "Can I Buy my Seat With Maaser Money?" says it depends: There is ...
alicht's user avatar
  • 12.1k
6 votes
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Why is this person deserving of death?

Tosfos, Berachos 6b (ד"ה אחורי בית הכנסת) says that מיחזי כשתי רשויות Meaning the guy's making it look like there are two gods of equal power. Avodah Zara is a capital crime, so it seems to fit....
Adam's user avatar
  • 176
6 votes

can I practice Judaism?

Midrash Rabba Eicha ר׳ הונא ור׳ ירמיה בשם ר׳ חייא בר אבא אמרי כתיב ואותי עזבו ואת תורתי לא שמרו הלואי אותי עזבו ותורתי שמרו מתוך שהיו מתעסקין בה המאור שבה היה מחזירן למוטב R. Huna and R. Jeremiah in ...
Alex's user avatar
  • 49.6k
6 votes
Accepted

Meaning of inscription in synagogue

Good guess @Joel K and thanks for the suggestion, @Double AA. Here is their answer. There was a second inscription, which I didn't notice (ceiling too high!): Gentile Maurice, grazie mille per la ...
Maurice Mizrahi's user avatar
5 votes

Talking in shul

The Rambam (Hilchos Deos Perek 6:7) says that if one is told to be quiet and they rebuke the person telling them to be quiet they are subject to certain punishments including being barred from ...
Josh's user avatar
  • 376
5 votes

Is there a Moses Seat in Synagogue?

There used to be such a thing in ancient synagogues. This special chair was referred to in Pesikta D'Rav Kahana 1:7: "וראש עגל לכסא מאחריו (מלכים א' י:יט), א"ר אחא כהדא קתדרא דמשה." ...
Harel13's user avatar
  • 26k

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