On the 15th January, Form 2 went on a trip to the Synagogue in Cardiff. It was an educational trip but we had a lot of fun!
We were particularly pleased when we were able to take part in dressing up in the traditional dress. Everyone wore a Kippah and some of us had the chance to wear a Tallit.
Shirley and Ginny talked to us about the symbols and we were shocked when Ginny, the Rabbi’s wife, said that the organist was a Christian and had been playing at the synagogue for 60 years. He was part of the Jewish community on Fridays and Saturdays (Shabbat) and played in his church on Sundays.
The synagogue was very similar to a Christian Church only it had different symbols within. It had a Ner Tamid (everlasting light) and the Torah rather than a Bible. We visited the worshipping area, the second floor out of the three. It was quite small but big enough to hold their reform Jewish community.
Shirley pointed out to us that on the furthest wall there was a wooden plaque. It had the names of the Jewish community’s family members who had died during the war or holocaust. Shirley said it was important for the Jewish community to put their relatives or friends names on the plaques to show respect. Shirley said she had come to Wales as her mum had arrived here on the Kindertransport in the first 9 months of World War 2.
We also learned about the Torah. The pages were made of animal skin and it is hand written, not printed. The Torah had to be perfect otherwise there is no use for it in real worship. In the reform synagogue they use imperfect Torahs to teach Hebrew or to show visitors. When writing the Torah, if they make a mistake, they have to start again. There have been stories where the writer was on the last page and he has made a mistake so had to start all over again. I would hate that because it takes nearly a year to write!
After our time in the synagogue, we had to leave. The bus journey home consisted of a discussion about the synagogue and Judaism. After the trip everyone seemed to understand the religion better since they had seen it for themselves and so it was really worthwhile.
Thank you Miss Francis, the Chaplain and everyone else who made this trip possible!
Hannah Mathias Form 2
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