Travel Tips and Advice

Brad

Jewish Synagogue Etiquette

Added by Brad December 10, 2011
  • Wear a yarmulke if you're a man. Even young boys should cover their heads with this small, circular cap. Yarmulkes to borrow are usually available at the entrance to the synagogue.
  • Dress conservatively. Women usually wear dresses to synagogue while men usually wear suits. If you are in a touristy area, though, you can often get away with conservative business casual. Women and men should wear long sleeves.
  • Pay attention to entrances and seating. Some synagogues will have separate entrances and designated areas for men and women. If you notice that men and women are gathering on different sides, enter accordingly. Orthodox synagogues separate their seating by gender, so make sure to sit in the correct section if visiting during a service.
  • Don't use cameras during Shabbat. Don't take pictures on Friday nights or Saturday mornings, during the Shabbat (Sabbath day).
  • Don't turn your back to the Western Wall. If you visit the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem, you may notice people walking backward away before turning around. When you are ready to leave, remember not to turn your back to the wall.

original source: http://www.bbc.com/travel/blog/20110616-travelwise-religious-tourism-etiquette