Every week I walk past Young Peoples Synagogue on my way to my synagogue, so this week I decided to visit them instead. They're a lay-led Orthodox congregation.
When I got there they were doing mincha (silent Amidah, so not too late). There was no mechitza and no other women were present. All the men (about a dozen) were sitting in the pews on the far side of an aisle, so I sat on the near side at the end farthest from the aisle while trying to figure out where I was supposed to sit. A couple minutes later one of the men came over to do something to the memorial plaques on the wall near me, so I asked if it was ok for me to sit there and he said yes. A couple minutes later someone came around with copies of Yedid Nefesh for kabblat shabbat and he didn't seem to have any problem with me being there either. (I moved a few seats over as things progressed.)
(I don't particularly obsess over things like this; I'm just reporting.)
The siddur they use is Birnbaum, and they had copies in the pew racks, so no hunting around for one like I had to do at Young Israel. I don't know Birnbaum well (have used it; haven't studied it), but I found it easier to use than Artscroll. (Maybe I should acquire one.) When we got to the end of mincha a different leader took over (they passed the tallit) and we went straight into kabbalat shabbat. (I don't now remember if we started with Yedid Nefesh, but it was early. I vaguely recognized the melody, kinda sorta, but didn't know it.)
As I've come to expect from traditional services, all the psalms in kabbalat shabbat were sung with that mix of starting together melodically and then dropping into a quiet personal recitation until the leader picks it up a sentence or so from the end (then repeat with the next one). The melody for the first half of L'cha Dodi was familiar, but then they switched midway through to a different one (I understand that's not uncommon when doing all nine verses), and the second was harder to follow but I muddled through.
The rest of the service proceeded normally, efficient but not rushed. It's refreshing to pray in a community where no cues are necessary; people know when to stand, sit, turn around, etc and what page we're on. It's nice to be among the fluent. :-) The service ended with kiddush and Yigdal (not Adon Olam). I didn't note the time when we transitioned from mincha to kabbalat shabbat, but I got there at about 6:25 and we finished at 7:15.
Afterward some people greeted me (and vice-versa), and one asked if I was visiting. I said I live a couple blocks away and decided to come meet them; he said Friday night it's usually "just the guys" and I should come Shabbat morning when everyone comes. I thanked him and said I have a Shabbat morning minyan I'm fond of but I'd be back sometime. He asked where, I said Temple Sinai, and he said something like "hey, that's fine", which felt a little odd to me but I don't think he meant it unkindly or anything. I guess they're not used to getting Reform Jews walking in, especially ones who are fluent in the service?
I expect to visit them on Friday nights occasionally, especially when my congregation is doing some special service or other that doesn't appeal. I'm not likely to skip the morning minyan to go somewhere else without a really good reason, but there are times when our minyan doesn't meet (like when yom tov is on Shabbat), so I'll certainly keep YPS in mind for that. And I may just decide to go on a field trip some week; I'm curious in particular about the role women play there. (No mechitza? And women give divrei torah according to their web site. Anything else?)