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Is it normal for a reform jew to be turned away from visiting an orthodox synagogue?

I’m currently in Panama City and there seems to be a great Jewish community here in terms of numbers. There’s a massive synagogue and university which I’ve wanted to visit for some time now.

I went to the synagogue during the day, and they had really tight security and I finally was able to speak to a member of the congregation. He came outside and immediately started asking questions about who I was and what my background with Judaism is. Ultimately it came down to him telling me that it’s not a synagogue that welcomes reform Jews, and the Ashkenazi community isn’t tightly knit.

Ultimately the man told me no, and I told him no problem and sorry for disturbing them with an unannounced visit. While waiting for my taxi to leave they had multiple members come out and look at me as if I was up to something suspicious.

I’m not sure if they just have security issues, or they genuinely feel that way about reform or Ashkenazi Jews, or if it was something about myself which I’m unaware of.

Has anyone had any similar experiences, or could provide more insight on the reform / orthodox relations? Or the Sephardic / Ashkenazi relationship?

submitted by /u/Easy-Okra7836
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Source: Reditt