I'll be attending a church Mass for the first time when I attend a friend's wedding. What should I expect?

Answered by
Rabbi Victor S. Appell

Jews may attend the worship services of other religions. We may attend baptisms, first communions, weddings and funerals of non-Jewish friends and relatives. Just as much of Jewish liturgy may be recited by anyone, some parts of the liturgy in non-Jewish services are universal and Jews may recite such words or join in the singing of appropriate songs or hymns. However, Jews should never take Communion. It is also inappropriate for Jews to kneel, though Jews may bow their head along with the rest of the congregation. Just as in synagogues, in many churches there is a time in the service when parishioners greet each other. A common greeting is “Peace be with you.” It is appropriate to reply, “And also with you.” This is similar to wishing fellow congregants “Shabbat Shalom” when in synagogue.