Sunday, March 18, 2007

Jackets to Shul

This morning when I went to minyan, I did not go to one of the shuls I would normally daven at because I needed a minyan at a specific time. There was one minyan at this specific time so I decided to go there. I have heard rumors over the years that in this particular shul you need to wear a jacket to daven. I never really thought about this because I figured this rule was probably only for the Chazzan or anyone who would be getting any honor during the davening such as an aliyah. When I arrived at the shul this morning, I saw a sign on the door that said the Rav requires everyone to wear a jacket to daven. When I got into the shul as I was putting my talis and tefillin on, the Rav of this shul came over to the area where i was and said," Either put on a jacket or find another place to daven". I thought this was pretty rude and out of line. Especially the tone of voice on how this was said. What if a person like me was a guest to this shul and was not so sure about the rules? Would the Rav rather a person not daven in a minyan at all? He could have come over to me and the other people and asked nicely. He also could have thought that maybe people are not aware and if they became aware next time they go to the shul they would wear a jacket. I used to have a lot of respect for this Rav but now I dont know how to feel. I could understand how a Rav wants a certain decorum for his shul. I think that a dress code for a shul might be a little much, especially when your shul is in a neighborhood where people shul hop for minyanim based upon when they can get to shul. I understand that in the Yeshivish world that a hat and jacket is required during davening but some people dont feel comfortable in a hat and jacket. I am of the opinion that a person should feel comfortable in their avodas hashem and I think that comfort includes the clothes a person wants to wear. I see on shabbos in many sefardi shuls people going in jeans. If thats how they feel comfortable why is it a problem. I bet you in a Sefardi shul no one would stare or say anything to the people wearing jeans either. I will try to avoid this shul from now on and I dont know what my feelings for this Rav is going to be from now on.

26 comments:

socialworker/frustrated mom said...

that is a very mean thing he said I am so surprised that a shul would make men wear jackets, sorry that it happened to you.

Independent Frum Thinker said...

He may not have said it in an understanding and nice manner. But the point is true. One should keep to the Minhag of the Shul, even if one doesn’t act that way in other settings.

Anonymous said...

While I agree that one should follow the minhag of the shul, at the same time the Rav should be understanding. To tell someone to either put on a jacket or leave - I wonder if that is even halachically permissable. If this is the shul's policy they should have extra jackets available just in case.

D'varim P'shutim said...

I think such a policy in a shul is anti-'jewish'. We believe in INclusion not exclusion. and if you want to make a big deal about "minhag hamokom" (which i'm not convinced would apply here) then the person should be told privately after davening in a way NOT to make him feel unwanted. another example of chumros gone wild.

almost_frei said...

I am shocked! Who is this 'Rav'? I think you should out him, so everyone knows where NOT to daven.

frumhouse said...

I don't think it was nice. What is more important - that you should wear a jacket or that you should attend minyan? For all this rav knows, this could have been the first time in 10 years you have tried to go to minyan - and he turns you away! I realize that not every group considers themselves a kiruv organization - but maybe they should. For all this rav knows, perhaps he just turned a fellow yid off from yiddishkeit for life.

BrooklynWolf said...

I don't have a problem with a shul setting standards for people who want to daven there. If they want to maintain a rule that one must wear a jacket in order to daven, that is their right. It's also your right, of course, to refuse to put on a jacket and not go into the shul.

That being said, I think the Rabbi was wrong only in his manner of speaking. If the goal is to encourage people to wear jackets during davening, he could have been far more successful with a smile and a "I realize you must be new here, but we have a minhag here to wear a jacket. Please bring one in next time."

Perhaps someone could donate a couple of jackets to the shul for jacket-less people to use?

The Wolf

rescue said...

would you be as insulted if you went to a restaurant that was jacket and tie only? You knew the rules before walking in (there was a sign), if you don't like the rules go elsewhere. (I beleive the mishnah berurah states that a jacket must be worn. It may be in hilchos krias shema, or that might be the source for a second head covering, I don't remember) If the shul sign said no shorts and you were wearing shorts, would you be as upset? What about tank tops?

FrumWithQuestions said...

SWFM- You would be even more suprised if i told you who said it since he is a well known Rav

Anonymous and BrooklynWolf- I agree about having extra jackets available. That would solve the problem. I know one of the Yeshivas has an extra hat for someone who doesnt have one and they want to daven from the amud

Rescue- When you go to a restaraunt you know where you are going beforehand and know what the rules might be. In a largely Jewish neighborhood with lots of minyanim you just look at a list with all the times and hope you make one of those minyans. Even if this shul has a sign on the door, you might not know that from looking at a list with minyan times on it.

TuitionScholarships said...

Um, why not suggest to the shul that they keep some spare jackets around for those who don't have?

rescue said...

you said yourself you heard the rumours that the shul required a jacket. If you herd rumors about a restaurant you wanted to go to, you would make sure to bring a jacket just in case. As usual you are trying to change the subject. You are admiting that you were wrong, but want to blame it on the shul by saying "how dare they require me to wear a jacket" Next time you want to complain look t yourself first. You put yourself in the situation, but now it's someone elses fault. It sound like you must be part of management, as it is never managements fault.

billybob said...

The restaurant comparison doesn't fit here. There is no reason that a restaurant should display common moral or ethical courtesy - they are a business. A shul, on the other hand is supposed to be tied with religion, specifically it is a religious meeting place and the Rabbi as the head of the institution should epitomize all the religions positive ideals. In this case, it is clear, that did not happen. While there may or may not be an obligation to conform with the custom of the particular place, there is also - a biblical (probably) obligation to not embarrass or treat someone without proper dignity. One would assume, when these are in conflict there should be no question which should win out.

rescue said...

billybob,

FWQ didn't meet the minimum standards od decorum, who says that doesn't trumph the obligation not to embarass someone ESPECIALLY WHEN THERE IS A SIGN ON THE DOOR THAT SAYS THESE ARE THE RULES. FWQ chose to ignore them. We also never heard FWQ's response, did he respond correctly?

FrumWithQuestions said...

After the rude request by the Rabbi i was forced to look like an idiot by wearing a heavy coat half on as i tried to manuever myself with my talis and tefillin. I also noticed a teenager sitting towards the front who was wearing a hooded sweatshirt and cargo pants yet nothing was said to him. Why me and not the other people? The shul should also let it be known that they have this policy by sending an email across the community listserve or make a notation on one of the communities minyan lists so people should know for the future.

rescue said...

wan't there a sign outside? Weren't you aware this rule was a possibility? Maybe the teenager with a hooded sweatshirt had a shirt on uderneath? Try accepting some responsibility for your actions, just because you think everyone is out to get you, doesn;t mean they are not, but it also doesn't mean it isn't your fault.

FrumWithQuestions said...

There was not a sign outside. There was a small strip of paper with the message on the furthest door. I have davened in the shul in the past when there was never a problem. There should be a plotie request so you know for next time. If you are already with a minyan in a shul you should not make someone feel uncomfortable but then again thats whats common in the Litvish and YI world. I still recall the first time I went into a YI and all I got was stares instead of a greeting.

Opinionated Jew said...

I completely understand your frustration. The way that things work in the Frum Welt nowadays, it’s all form over substance. I have seen people whom daven wearing hats & jackets talk, speak on the cellphone, etc. while wearing Tallis & Tefillin. On the other hand, there are plenty of people who wear khakis and a polo shirt to Shul and daven with the requisite Kavana.

What your story boils down to is that nowadays, we are missing the forest for the trees. We are stuck on the minutae and not on the “big picture.” As you were simply davening at the Shul in order to fulfill Tefillah with a Minyan and were not otherwise taking a leadership role in the davening, I believe that the Rabbi in question was 100% in the wrong for his actions. In the twisted way in which Frumkeit has developed, the Rabbi would rather deny you the ability to daven with a minyan than allow you to do so sans jacket. Something like that I will never understand.

http://opinionatedjew.blogspot.com/

SusQHB said...

hell man, a yid is a yid. i've never heard of a rav kicking someone out of their shul. thats despicable. what if you had been there to say kaddish? what if this was your first time in a shul in 15 years? a warning may have been sufficient, but to kick a newcomer out of your shul for something so ridiculous pains me a great deal to hear. sorry you had to experience it.

Anonymous said...

I happen to HATE wearing jackets and feel very uncomfortable in them, especially in hot weather. Guess I don't have a share in this stinkin' rabbi's Jewish world.

rescue said...

The common theme here is that everyone is saying, I look and believe at things differently and the Rav is wrong (especially since I disagree with him) Why does the Rav have to conform to your ubderstanding and practices?

FrumWithQuestions said...

Rescue - If you see that you are the only one who disagrees with me how come you wont realize that maybe this Rav made a mistake? Are you of the belief that everyone needs to wear a hat as well?

Litvak said...

"If you are already with a minyan in a shul you should not make someone feel uncomfortable but then again thats whats common in the Litvish and YI world"

Please cease and desist from such ugly stereotyping. Even if you had one bad experience it doesn't mean that it happens all over, all the time.

FrumWithQuestions said...

I have had more than one bad experience and it seems to re occur evertime I set foot in a shul that fits into that category so it is not stereotyping. I have spoken to many people as well who feel the same way.

the apple said...

Don't know if you'll even read this, but . . .

In our shul (a Sefardic one), the Rav does not let people in short sleeves or shorts daven for the amud. However, I don't think he mandates any dress code for the men in the minyan. (Although I think he would prefer no sandals without socks.)

There is a certain kavod in wearing a jacket and hat to daven. HOWEVER - as long as someone is neatly dressed and menchlich, he is also dressed in a kavodik manner. No one should be asked to leave a shul - that sends a terrible message, not to mention could alienate someone from davening in general.

Freshwater Phil said...

I've run into similar instances in my shul. It is a Chabad shul in a big community, I don't typically wear a jacket. When their aren't any aveilim, they ask me to daven for the amud, as I am a proficient reader and daven quite fast. Anyway, one of my old rebbi's mentioned that the Chazzan has to wear a jacket in Lubavitch shuls, then posted a sign a few days later. So I stopped volunteering. One morning, everybody wearing jackets was after me without the jacket to daven, so I went up. In midle of Baruch Sheamar, the guy walks in and freaks out, won't let me keep davening, so I walked away, and motioned him to do so. Finally, someone gave me his jacket as the other 25-30 people there didn't want to be late for work.

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