God is called Hamakom, which literally means "The Place." For example: "HaMakom y'nachem etchem - May the Omnipresent comfort you," or "Baruch HaMakom, baruch Hu - Blessed is the Omnipresent, blessed is He."
What is the origin/source of this name for God?
I have the following question: Are non-Jews permitted to read portions of Torah (or other honors) during services?
I have a friend who goes to Shabbat services nearly every Saturday (for many, many years). He wants to covert to Judaism but hasn't gone through all the steps. (He's actually more observant than most Jews).
During services, he is often asked to step-up to the Bema to read a portion of the Torah, hold the Torah, or perform other honors. He politely declines because he's not sure if he's allowed to perform these honors because he is not "technically" Jewish.
The temple we go to is very inclusive, on the reform side, and extremely welcoming to all. Also, the number of people who attend on Saturday is usually small -- we barely have a minyan most Saturdays.
So, my question is: May a non Jewish person perform the above honors during services? Do different temples have different rules on this subject? Do reform synagogues have different rules on this subject than more orthodox temples?
What are the Jewish laws for transgender people? Are they considered according to Halacha to be their birth or assumed gender? In what gender’s side of a synagogue do they sit? Which gender’s ritual laws are they required to follow? Does a woman who became a man put on tefillin? Is a man who became a woman exempt? What gender person is one supposed to marry? Must a man who became a woman dress according to modesty laws of women? Is there a problem seeing members of one’s assumed gender dressed immodestly or having members of one’s assumed gender seeing one dressed immodestly? Is there a problem being isolated with members of one’s birth or assumed gender? Must one refrain from physical contact with members of one’s birth or assumed gender? How are these issues addressed?