A Synagogue

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A Synagogue

A synagogue will look like any other building from the outside - the

only sign you might get from the outside is the star of David which is

called magen David in the Hebrew tongue. There may also be a sign

outside stating the name of the synagogue. There are many names for a

synagogue such as; shul - which means school in Hebrew, bet haknesset,

which means house of assembly - this is only used by Sephardim, which

is oriental Jews. A synagogue is primarily a place of worship but also

functions as a community centre for the Jews. The building is so

important that the whole Jewish community that worship there will

revolve around the building. It is used as a teaching school for

Jewish children where they will be taught the Hebrew alphabet, numbers

of Hebrew and about their faith. This school is a Jewish equivalent to

a Christian 'Sunday school.'

If you now go inside you would see that the synagogue is rectangular

and although you will not realise it, but the whole synagogue is built

facing Israel, if possible, Jerusalem. There will be a sink where the

congregation will wash their hands and feet before praying or

worshipping. You will also notice that there are separate seats. This

is because in orthodox synagogues, the men sit on the ground floor and

worship and the women sit in the gallery. There is a good reason for

this - and not because the Jews are sexist - but because in Judaism,

the men take on the role of worshipping and the women are expected to

look after the house and the children so if people were late (the

women). This may be because they had to change the baby or something

like that so instead of disturbi...

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...yed and the hymns and

songs are sung without the aid or backup of music. In a liberal or

reformed synagogue however things would be very different, for

instance, there is quite a large chance that a female rabbi would be

conducting the service, the man and women are more 'equal' they sit

together and worship together as one big mass. The bimah may be at the

front which, in my opinion, gives a sense of preaching and I think

Jews know their religion, they don't need to be educated about it they

just want to worship god. There also may be an organ to accompany

songs and hymns because music is permitted in reformed synagogues.

There would also be slightly less Hebrew spoken. So this synagogue I

have described to you is an orthodox synagogue. Orthodox translates to

"right belief" and is considered to be traditional Judaism.
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