A visit to St James Synagogue.
A warm welcome was extended to us as we were greeted by our guide. We were then ushered into the building, where upon our guide spoke to us about the building, its features and customs. We were told about the respect that Jewish people have for one another.
Jewish people have two prayers placed on the walls of the synagogue that they regularly say in either Hebrew or English. They say a special prayer of respect and appreciation to our Queen and our service people.
We were then introduced to the everlasting light that symbolises God’s presence and the pillar of fire that guided the Jewish people on their early journey to the promised land. Next we spoke about where the torahs were kept, and considered how they were written and the importance of keeping them safe and the use of the yad, a pointer stick. Mini torahs were passed around for the children to examine. We were told that Jewish people would read a whole scroll throughout a calendar year, before starting again.
After this we spoke about the commandments and discovered that Jewish people follow 613 commandments (these are guidelines that Jewish people follow to help them live their lives and behave correctly). That’s a lot of rules to remember!
Finally, our guide introduced us to the 3 most important things within Judaism,
The heart of Judaism is how we behave to others.
The Sabbath is always holy; priorities of the week are left behind and now it is time for family and friends- it is started by lighting candles on Friday night.
Appreciate everything you have; notice what you have. Speaking a blessing will help us to reflect. At this point, we had a very interesting role play 😉.
We all spoke a blessing over our fruit in both English and Hebrew! We were then encouraged to think of something we were particularly thankful for, a special moment.
An excellent visit.
Special thanks to St James Place Synagogue for their welcome and time.