Respect in the Synagogue

Rabbinic restrictions on behavior in the synagogue reveal continuing tension between ordinary Jews' sense of being at home and at ease there, and the desire of rabbis to set it apart as a sacred place.

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Against these attempts at comparative "secularization," some Ashkenazi Rabbis refused to allow parents to kiss their children in the synagogue where, they argued, love should be expressed only to God. Orthodox Rabbis, especially in Hungary, refused to allow marriages to be celebrated in the synagogue, as was the Sephardi practice, To have the huppah [wedding canopy] in the synagogue with an address by the rabbi to the bride and bridegroom, was, they held, an obvious attempt at copying the practices of the church, apart from the fact that the huppah should ideally be in the open air. Nowadays it is the norm, however, even among the Orthodox, to have the huppah in the synagogue.

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Rabbi Louis Jacobs

Rabbi Dr. Louis Jacobs (1920-2006) was a Masorti rabbi, the first leader of Masorti Judaism (also known as Conservative Judaism) in the United Kingdom, and a leading writer and thinker on Judaism.