Service Learning Project : Attend A Jewish Synagogue Service Essay

Service Learning Project : Attend A Jewish Synagogue Service Essay

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Service Learning Project – Attend a Jewish Synagogue Service
I have attended a Christian church my whole life. While I have attended various denominations, I have always considered myself to be non-denominational, not favoring one over the other. The only other churches I have ever attended were Catholic; I have had other family members practice this faith and so have always been a guest with them if I have gone and had the services feel fairly familiar. When we were given the project to go and attend a different religion’s church I wasn’t sure what to expect. I decided to attend a Jewish church since Judaism and Christianity believe some of the same fundamentals but are still separated, I thought it would be a good way to learn more about the church as well as be able to relate better to anyone I know who practices Judaism. Also this taught me what it feels like for someone who does not have any experience in church.
I attended a Saturday morning service at the Congregation of Beth Simcha. This Is a smaller church who meets in different Christian churches until a time where they can buy their own building. Everyone was friendly when I came to the service, as a few different members came up and introduced themselves to me. I was taken aback to be greeted with the phrase, ‘Shabbat Shalom’, and when I asked what it meant, they let me know it meant peaceful Sabbath. They did not have pamphlet or handout that would maybe describe the order of their service, they just handed me an offering envelope and new members slip so I was not sure what to expect.
They started the service by blowing of a horn called the Shofar. It took me by surprise because I am used to an opening of prayer at my church and where we also have a contemporary ...

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...vice. He read out several of the commandments and spoke on the prescribed words from God and why we are to follow them. The service finished and gave announcements about future celebrations coming up such as Purim.
This experience was really out of my comfort zone. It was hard to be an outsider and not prepared for what was to come and not speaking one of the languages used to understand the entire service. This service learning project gave me the opportunity to try a new church and gain a deeper respect for a different religion. Everyone at the service was very educated on speaking the sacred texts and participating in the rituals practiced. I hope to have gained a better understanding for those who are new to religions and are nervous to come to a worship service. I will make more of an effort to be welcoming and accommodating to those who are new to our church.

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