Non-Jew and Honors in Synagogue

Question

Hi Rabbi:

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?

Thank you.

3 months

Answers

  1. Gateways is an Orthodox organization which means that we follow the Code of Jewish Law in every detail. According to Jewish Law a non-Jew should not receive honors in the Synagogue.

    I am sure that if and when you friend converts to Judaism according to Halacha, he will receive many honors in the Synagogue on Shabbat, and much love from the community and from the Jewish People in general. The Torah commands us in numerous places “to love the convert.”

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team