A Synagogue Essay

A Synagogue Essay

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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...


... middle of paper ...


...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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