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Switch to Forum Live View Would like to visit a congregation
5 years ago  ::  Nov 04, 2009 - 5:20PM #1
ebthoreau
Posts: 83

Greetings all. This is my first time posting in the Judaism forum. Lately, though, I've been reading a lot about Judaism (particularly Reform) on the web. I also ordered a catalog of "everything Jewish." It's a really neat catalog; I just enjoy browsing it.


Anyway, I'm not saying I want to convert. I'm a practicing Buddhist in the Zen tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh, and I'm very happy in my spiritual tradition. I have, however, always been fascinated by the variety of human religious expression, and I totally dig Jewish culture.


So, here's my question. I'd like to visit a synagogue/congregation - would you recommend Orthodox, Conservative or Reform? Also, would you mind giving me a heads-up for any possible faux pas I should make sure to avoid? Should I call before attending? Dress code?


Thanks.


 


 


 


 


 

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5 years ago  ::  Nov 04, 2009 - 8:26PM #2
Metis
Posts: 423

I would recommend Reform first for a couple of reasons.  One is that more of the service will probably be in English rather than Hebrew.  Following a Conservative or Orthodox service, even though there's translations available, can be a bit difficult at first.  Secondly, Reform services are probably closer to what you may have experienced if you ever went to a church.  However, sometime along the line I would recommend going to an Orthodox service, but be prepared for a different kind of experience.


As far as dress is concerned, if in doubt just wear a nice shirt and sport-coat if you're male or a nice dress that falls below the knee if you're female.  It is not necessary to notify the synagogue in advance, but you might mention that you are a visitor when you walk in because they may invite you to sit down near someone whereas they can help show you the ropes and answer questions afterword.  Do not be intimidated because there's guests all the time at most of our synagogues.


Hope you have a very pleasant experience, and I'm sure you will.


Shalom

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5 years ago  ::  Nov 05, 2009 - 7:20AM #3
ebthoreau
Posts: 83

Thanks. That sounds like very good advice. There's a Reform Congregation near my home, so I'll make a visit.


One more question, please. In a Reform Congregation, will my wife and I have to sit separately?


With metta.

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5 years ago  ::  Nov 05, 2009 - 11:46AM #4
rocketjsquirell
Posts: 16,028

Men and women  sit together in Reform, Reconstructionist, and Conservative synagogues. Some  Orthodox synagogues also have mixed seating.


If you are going to a service for the first time, you may find that a  Friday evening service is a better bet. Friday evening services are shorter (as there is no Torah reading) and in most liberal congregations has a greater portion of the service in English.


You might want to take a look at a book titled "How to be a Perfect Stranger" It is a guide for visiting various religious communities and is quite helpful so that you don't make an inadvertent faux pas.

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5 years ago  ::  Nov 05, 2009 - 12:22PM #5
Beautiful_Dreamer
Posts: 5,160

This thread has been moved from Discuss Judaism.


Beautiful_Dreamer


Beliefnet Community Host, Discuss Judaism

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5 years ago  ::  Nov 06, 2009 - 8:10AM #6
ebthoreau
Posts: 83

Thanks, Rocket. I was wondering about Friday vs Saturday, too. I appreciate your suggestions.


 

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5 years ago  ::  Dec 14, 2009 - 4:52AM #7
DotNotInOz
Posts: 6,833

My sole experience with a Reform Friday evening service was that it was very like a typical Protestant service, almost entirely in English with only a few prayers said by the rabbi in Hebrew and then in English.


Otherwise, despite my husband's having been raised in a "Conservadox" temple as he calls it (Conservative bordering on Orthodox), I've never been to a regular service, only to bar and bat mitzvahs. He says that that temple is somewhat Orthodox doctrinally, but men and women sit together. Only the men wear yarmulkes and prayer shawls whereas in Reconstructionist and Reform congregations, you may see both men and women wearing them.

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5 years ago  ::  Dec 14, 2009 - 9:26AM #8
nieciedo
Posts: 5,617

Question for the Powers that Be:


How do the "featured discussions" on the log-in page get selected? This thread appeared there yesterday, but until the most recent post hasn't had any action since November 4.


 


Just curious. Thanks!

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5 years ago  ::  Dec 14, 2009 - 2:54PM #9
Idenitycrisis
Posts: 351

I'm going to visit a synagougue as soon as I get my own place. FREEDOM!!! Always wanted to, but I knew my parents would probably not be to pleased, especially if they found out while I'm still living at home. The suggestions here are pretty much identical to the ones that I was given, probably by the same friends!Smile Reform, or conservative service, on Friday night. Theres a conservative congregation in Rochester NY, not to far from me, I think thats the one I'm going to try first. Kol Tov.

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5 years ago  ::  Feb 19, 2010 - 12:11PM #10
river8101
Posts: 5,552

Identity Crisis,


Why are you asking question of joining Judaism when about this same month you were pledging your loyalty to Jehovah Witnesses on a thread in which JW defended the act of not giving blood even when it meant the death of a child. JW confuse kashrut with blood transfusions. Obviously JW have not read the Torah in the orginal Hebrew.   Strange because no 2 religions could be further apart.  There's no such idea in the TaNaKh.  As Jews, we believe in life first. 

“Faith is deciding to allow yourself to believe something your intellect would otherwise cause you to reject.”
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