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Old 05-06-2013, 09:00 AM
 
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Fwiw, my orthodox shul does sell tickets for high holidays, but should someone arrive without a ticket and needs a place to daven, we find room for them. We try to never deny admittance to a yid who wants to pray. Non Jews are not welcome in my shul during prayers, anytime, unless they are going thru a conversion. There's simply no reason for them to be there.
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Old 05-19-2013, 10:52 AM
 
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I would recommend that if you want to visit a synagogue, e-mail the rabbi first and let him know you're interested in visiting. Purely as a courtesy measure, before walking into someone's "house". I did the same when I moved to this area and was deciding which synagogue I wanted to attend.

But overall, it varies a lot whether shuls welcome outsiders to visit or not. My old Conservative synagogue from my teenage years was happy to have non-Jewish visitors come sit in services with us, if they were respectful (and of course they were). My old Reform synagogue from my childhood years was more wary about non-Jews touching the prayerbooks.

And since the holidays are the most crowded time of year for synagogues, it's common for everyone to be required to have tickets, because it becomes impossible to accommodate so many people. Their resources have limits. My mother found this out when trying to find a place to worship on Rosh Hashanah.

Also, even in my Conservative synagogue, with people who use electricity on Shabbat, it is against the rules to use cell phones or cameras in the synagogue itself. Forgot about that at first, but that's another piece of the puzzle.

No offense, just some thoughts.

Last edited by SlowDriver; 05-19-2013 at 10:59 AM.. Reason: cell phones
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Old 05-25-2013, 05:20 PM
 
Location: Coastal New Jersey
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Have been reading through this thread, and one thing struck me that no one seems to have mentioned. OP, it's obvious from the way you write that English is not your first language. Nothing too bad, but you leave out the article sometimes or use the wrong tense of a word. Do you speak with an accent as well? The foreign accent coupled with a camera and a story about a school project could have raised suspicions, sorry to say.

Even here in liberal New Jersey where there are many Jewish residents there are occasional attacks against Jews--vandals, usually kids, would destroy headstones from time to time at a nearby Jewish cemetery, and there was a nasty incident wherein a rabbis home and family was attacked by some anti-semitic nut a year or two ago. Surely the most rudimentary knowledge of history would alert you to the fact that Jews are a little more cautious than the rest of us about who is safe to deal with and who is not.

Don't take it personally. Instead, as others have pointed out, before interacting with a group with which you are not familiar, try to step into the opposite shoes and see what your approach might look like. Lesson learned.
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Old 05-28-2013, 07:18 AM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theflipflop View Post
Fwiw, my orthodox shul does sell tickets for high holidays, but should someone arrive without a ticket and needs a place to daven, we find room for them. We try to never deny admittance to a yid who wants to pray. Non Jews are not welcome in my shul during prayers, anytime, unless they are going thru a conversion. There's simply no reason for them to be there.
Is this true (that non jews are never allowed) even if their spouse and children are jewish?
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Old 05-28-2013, 10:57 AM
 
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Originally Posted by pegotty View Post
Is this true (that non jews are never allowed) even if their spouse and children are jewish?
What?

I was referring to the random non-Jew who wants to see what the inside of an orthodox shul looks like. Thanks but no thanks. That's what hashem made churches for.

For a complex situation where there are Jewish and non-Jewish parents, with some combo of Jewish kids as well, clearly that would be a unique situation and the Rav must be consulted in order to determine what is proper. We have non-Jewish people who attend our shul, but all of them are going through conversion. Were there to be a non-Jewish couple where only one of the two is interested in a halachic conversion, neither would be a candidate. When the couple is already married, and especially when there are children involved, it's all or nothing. Either they both convert, or neither is a candidate. If this is shocking to one or some of you, send me a direct message, there's plenty to discuss on the subject.
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Old 05-28-2013, 11:51 AM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
2,538 posts, read 4,690,556 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theflipflop View Post
What?

I was referring to the random non-Jew who wants to see what the inside of an orthodox shul looks like. Thanks but no thanks. That's what hashem made churches for.

For a complex situation where there are Jewish and non-Jewish parents, with some combo of Jewish kids as well, clearly that would be a unique situation and the Rav must be consulted in order to determine what is proper. We have non-Jewish people who attend our shul, but all of them are going through conversion. Were there to be a non-Jewish couple where only one of the two is interested in a halachic conversion, neither would be a candidate. When the couple is already married, and especially when there are children involved, it's all or nothing. Either they both convert, or neither is a candidate. If this is shocking to one or some of you, send me a direct message, there's plenty to discuss on the subject.
Okay, I misunderstood you. I thought you were saying gentiles were never allowed at all. I know things vary from community to community. Chabad has been very welcoming to my whole family...I am jewish, husband not and we have kids. From what i gather (and i'm fairly ignorant on this subject, so correct me if i'm wrong) Chabad has more of a missionary type focus than Orthodox, although they kind of are a type of orthodox...? I guess this is a conversation for another thread.
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Old 05-28-2013, 02:12 PM
 
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Pegotty, you would be welcomed in my shul, although a quick head's up to the Rabbi before coming would be best form. The OP of this thread would be more likely to be shot should he have come to my shul unannounced and with a camera. I'd say 25% of the men in my shul carry concealed weapons, and most of them would use them should they feel threatended.
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Old 05-28-2013, 03:25 PM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
2,538 posts, read 4,690,556 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theflipflop View Post
Pegotty, you would be welcomed in my shul, although a quick head's up to the Rabbi before coming would be best form. The OP of this thread would be more likely to be shot should he have come to my shul unannounced and with a camera. I'd say 25% of the men in my shul carry concealed weapons, and most of them would use them should they feel threatended.
The OP seems quite ignorant of the people he/she wishes to "study." I can understand people who want to study the culture of a people group for the purpose of understanding them better and living in a peaceful relationship with them. But the OP seems to want to observe, but not study. In other words he/she seems to want them to behave in a way he/she deems appropriate, rather than simply seeking to understand without passing judgement.
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Old 07-02-2013, 09:12 PM
 
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Apparently, your in the wrong state and/or city for that to happen. Here in Louisville, KY, you'd be more than welcome to attend an Orthodox congregation as well as a Conservative or Reform congregation. We're more friendly and accepting here than where you were at. We would never call the Police on you, that is just plain insane~!
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Old 07-16-2013, 07:30 AM
 
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I travel frequently for work and I am unable to make it home on Fridays I generally try to attend services in the city I am visiting. I must say overall I have found the congregations to be unfriendly, rude, and absorbed in their own cliques. The Reform temples in Fresno and Albuquerque were particularly unwelcoming. In fact, when I called the Albuquerque temple to ask the times of services, a girl named Kristy responded with "I think they start at six" then hung the phone up before I could respond. The Rabbi's wife walked by us and did not even speak. We found the services quite enjoyable, but were very uncomfortable at the oneg when the people were so unfriendly.

On the other hand, the congregation at the Reform temple in McAllen, Texas was the friendliest I have ever experienced. After the services, members rushed over and offered welcoming greetings and engaged us in conversations. If I lived in McAllen, I would have joined that temple immediately. I think the difference is that McAllen is a small town so every member is important and made to feel that way. On the other hand, cities like Fresno have ample members and probably don't even care if people join or not. In Albuquerque, we found the staff of the hotel we stayed at and the personnel on the train to and from Santa Fe more friendly than the synagogue members. Perhaps the leadership of that temple should take the train to Santa Fe to experience how to treat people and then the Rabbi present a sermon on "welcoming the stranger".
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