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Old 04-27-2013, 10:21 AM
 
Location: Long Island, NY
797 posts, read 977,940 times
Reputation: 185

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Today I decided to visit a local reform synagogue. I always pass thru it after living in the area for several years. There were lots of cars at the parking lot, and few people standing outside.

When I walked in, I asked the lady at the front if I was allowed to walk around the synagogue and see it and how they do it. I felt very unfomfortable and was told to wait by the front. A man came after 5 min to me and told me that I was not allowed to go in to their service, and whatever I asked him he said "don't know".

I left the synagogue and then met a nice Jewish Russian lady with her child and husband outside. I first talked to them, and then I had small discussion with the wife. While talking to her, a random guy takes out his iphone and it seemed like he was filming or taking pictures of me. So uncomfortable as if I was going to attack them. I told the lady I was Christian, and she was surprised why I decided to visit a synagogue. I told her for "school project". I did hide my cross necklace, although I'm not sure if they saw my cross inside my car hanging by the mirror.

Why are non-Jews not so welcomed to visit synagogues? I do look like normal American. This was a very liberal synagogue, and not even Orthodox or Conservative. Even two years ago during a Jewish holiday, I wanted to go in and see how they do it for few minutes, the lady at the parking lot said that I need ticket to go in, very disappointed.
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Old 04-27-2013, 08:25 PM
 
Location: small Southern town balabusta
1,133 posts, read 1,432,423 times
Reputation: 756
I'm sorry you were treated rudely. I edited this post, as the first attempt was a long explanation of why, but suffice it to say, that due to safety reasons, we have to be careful. Shabbat's not really a great time to come in and look around; we are busy praying and trying to do our Shabbat stuff. High Holidays are not good, either. Tickets are for safety reasons; they have to know who is coming in.

As a Christian, you'll be treated with trepidation at best, and if we appear rude, we are protecting our temple. Many have come before you with evil intentions, so you're bearing that burden.

(Just have to tease you a little - what does a "normal American" look like, anyway?

Regarding your cross necklace and the one in the car, we are Jews, not vampires; you need not worry that we might see your cross. But we're busy praying in the temple and please understand that it's heavy duty prayer, mostly in Hebrew, and not really a show for people to come see.

Last edited by 1+1=5; 04-27-2013 at 08:52 PM..
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Old 04-27-2013, 08:54 PM
 
Location: Long Island, NY
797 posts, read 977,940 times
Reputation: 185
Update:

So I left the synagogue and thanked them for letting me go in. An hour after, a police officer knocks on my door. He asked me what kind of car I drive, where I work and if I have been visiting the synagogue. The police officer told me that they felt uncomfortable me being there because they never seen me before, and wondered why I was just at that synagogue. Although the police officer told me that they said I was friendly, and was told that I had school project and had camera with me to take pictures (I never took any due to feeling uncomfortable).

Unbealivable! I turn my back and they call the police on me. Apparently the two guys that stood outside got my licence plate while being inside the synagogue. I don't know whether I should laugh or cry. I told two Jewish friends at work and they were laughing.


I mean common if I was driving or walking around the parking lot without talking to any of them, or was friendly or anything then fine, but not calling the police as soon as I leave the place. I will never go there again.

Last edited by OneLess; 04-27-2013 at 09:05 PM..
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Old 04-27-2013, 09:01 PM
 
Location: Long Island, NY
797 posts, read 977,940 times
Reputation: 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1+1=5 View Post
I'm sorry you were treated rudely. I edited this post, as the first attempt was a long explanation of why, but suffice it to say, that due to safety reasons, we have to be careful. Shabbat's not really a great time to come in and look around; we are busy praying and trying to do our Shabbat stuff. High Holidays are not good, either. Tickets are for safety reasons; they have to know who is coming in.

As a Christian, you'll be treated with trepidation at best, and if we appear rude, we are protecting our temple. Many have come before you with evil intentions, so you're bearing that burden.

(Just have to tease you a little - what does a "normal American" look like, anyway?

Regarding your cross necklace and the one in the car, we are Jews, not vampires; you need not worry that we might see your cross. But we're busy praying in the temple and please understand that it's heavy duty prayer, mostly in Hebrew, and not really a show for people to come see.
Actually the lady and husband outside the synagogue were pretty nice. We had long discussion about various things in America, work and school. Sorry I forgot it was Sabbath, but that synagogue is empty except on Sabbath and high holidays, so that was the only time I could go in and ask. BTW I did not disturb the service, there were people at the hall talking with each other. I don't think they take religion very serious anyway.

I don't think you really needed ticket. She probably did not want me to be there since I was non-Jew (she saw my cross).

What I meant normal looking American, I mean that I did not look a guy with beard, hat, or any non-westernized that may look different and maybe suspicious. I did have school project.
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Old 04-27-2013, 09:13 PM
 
3,954 posts, read 3,341,414 times
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I would have called the police on you, too, had I been there. As a matter of fact, I'm considering whether I should report your IP adress to the City Data police right now.
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Old 04-27-2013, 09:15 PM
 
Location: Long Island, NY
797 posts, read 977,940 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theflipflop View Post
I would have called the police on you, too, had I been there. As a matter of fact, I'm considering whether I should report your IP adress to the City Data police right now.
Are you kidding or you are being serious and threatening me?
Why would you call the police on me after I left?

I guess every time I see cars park at my local church who do not belong there I should call the police too. Many students come to our church for similar type of projects I had, and we never felt uncomfortable, even when Non-Christian comes. Everybody is welcome to our church.
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Old 04-27-2013, 11:27 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
939 posts, read 1,261,337 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OneLess View Post
I do look like normal American.
Quote:
Originally Posted by OneLess
What I meant normal looking American, I mean that I did not look a guy with beard, hat, or any non-westernized that may look different and maybe suspicious
If by "normal American" you mean "white guy" then that's irrelevant and offensive. There are many non-White normal American Jews who go to synagogue. Now if you're a guy who's never been to the synagogue, is carrying a camera, speaks with a foreign accent, and wants to "look around", then that IS indeed suspicious, especially after the attacks two weeks ago by two "normal looking American"s. Synagogues are disproportionately targets of hate crimes. If you want to visit a synagogue, either come in and sit down in the back and introduce yourself at the end of the service, or e-mail ahead of time to schedule a tour.
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Old 04-27-2013, 11:32 PM
 
Location: small Southern town balabusta
1,133 posts, read 1,432,423 times
Reputation: 756
Quote:
Originally Posted by OneLess View Post
Are you kidding or you are being serious and threatening me?
Why would you call the police on me after I left?

I guess every time I see cars park at my local church who do not belong there I should call the police too. Many students come to our church for similar type of projects I had, and we never felt uncomfortable, even when Non-Christian comes. Everybody is welcome to our church.
I'm not trying to be offensive, but your people, in general, are attacked a lot less than mine are.
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Old 04-27-2013, 11:35 PM
 
Location: small Southern town balabusta
1,133 posts, read 1,432,423 times
Reputation: 756
Quote:
Originally Posted by usuario View Post
If by "normal American" you mean "white guy" then that's irrelevant and offensive. There are many non-White normal American Jews who go to synagogue. Now if you're a guy who's never been to the synagogue, is carrying a camera, speaks with a foreign accent, and wants to "look around", then that IS indeed suspicious, especially after the attacks two weeks ago by two "normal looking American"s. Synagogues are disproportionately targets of hate crimes. If you want to visit a synagogue, either come in and sit down in the back and introduce yourself at the end of the service, or e-mail ahead of time to schedule a tour.
Anyone that they don't know is regarded a little differently, no matter how they look. I have blonde hair and green eyes and was looked at strangely when I first showed up. And lots of well respected people at our synagogue have foreign accents (the people that fled from Germany and Poland).
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Old 04-27-2013, 11:42 PM
 
Location: small Southern town balabusta
1,133 posts, read 1,432,423 times
Reputation: 756
Quote:
Originally Posted by OneLess View Post
I don't think they take religion very serious anyway.

I don't think you really needed ticket. She probably did not want me to be there since I was non-Jew (she saw my cross).
Well, it's a little presumptuous to be saying they don't take religion very seriously, but hey, you're entitled to your opinion. They don't usually have a problem with non-Jews if they know their motives. Some show up and start preaching or pretend to be somebody they are not. Or call us names or assault us in many other ways.

A virtual lifetime ago, I was a non-Jew, curious, and was looked at strangely but they let me study Talmud with them the very first day (I know you're probably getting hives at that scenario already, my friend Flipflop). Conservative and Orthodox can't let non-Jews do that. It was so over my head and still is inappropriate for me to be studying that so I don't anymore, but they honored me and trusted me. The key is - they just want to know exactly what it is you're doing there.
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