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In a message dated 97-07-06 21:50:40 EDT, you write:

> I am in the very early stages of converting to Judaism ...
> my question is about attending services. Are there
> particular services (especially shabbat services) that it is inappropriate
> for a future convert to attend? I.E. those that are only for attendance by
> those who are already memebers of the community. I truly enjoy attending
> shabbat services but have been limiting how often I go for fear of showing
> up at one I dont "belong" at - any advice would be appreciated.

Anyone can attend any service. There is no restriction on non-Jews attending services. Male non-Jews should wear a head covering in accordance with local Jewish custom. If you elect to recite one of the prayers that require a worshipper to stand, then you stand. There's no distinction between Jew and non-Jew in that regard. Many non-Jews discover that Jewish services contain many prayers that they can affirm despite being expressed in an unfamiliar idiom.

However, non-Jews should NOT put on a tallis (prayer shawl) and should NOT put on t'fillin (phylacteries) and should NOT permit themselves to be counted toward the minyan (quorum needed for public prayer), and should NOT allow themselves to be called up to the bima for an aliya to the Torah nor most other special duties/honors.

During the Torah-Reading, you may submit requests for prayers on behalf of others (usually absent sick persons) to the gabbai (master of ceremonies), just as any other congregant may. And prayers may be said by the congregation for the well-being of non-Jews as well as Jews, including yourself.

At an appropriate point in your preparations for conversion, an orthodox rabbi has the authority to permit you (for training purposes) to put on t'fillin and/or a tallis. But he would probably require you to use a modified benediction that omits the usual clause that asserts that you have been divinely commanded to don this. (Once you become a Jew you will say the regular benediction.)

> Also I am having an incredibly hard time finding your book in Syracuse NY
> any
> suggestions on major chains that carry it?

Thanks for your interest in my book. You can order the book on-line, in a secured environment, from at least three different on-line bookstores, or from the publisher by phone, or from me by mail. For ordering info see:
If you order from me, I'd be happy to autograph it, or to inscribe it to someone as you may suggest.

I hope this helps. Thanks again.

--- Jordan