U5 students visit an Orthodox synagogue
Wednesday 20th February 2019
On Tuesday 12 February, our U5 students visited the Orthodox synagogue in Reading.
Alice W kindly gave an account of the trip, which can be read below:
“On Tuesday, we had a very informative visit to the Orthodox synagogue in Reading. The visit helped us to understand more about the Jewish faith, including the celebration of religious festivals, and the worship routines that occur in the synagogue.
When we arrived, we learnt about the synagogue itself, including the Holy Ark (Aron Hakodesh) and the Torah scrolls (Sefer Torah). We recognised the features of the synagogue. For example, it had a separate women’s gallery, displayed a prayer for the British royal family, and was decorated without depictions of humans or animals. We even got to see inside the Holy Ark and saw the beautifully dressed Torah scrolls, complete with crowns, bells, mantles, and breastplates.
For the second part of the visit we explored the various aspects of the Jewish year, including how Judaism follows a lunar calendar. We learnt about the practice of Judaism within the home, in particular the foods that Judaism permits and prohibits, and we talked about what each food in the Passover meal represents! We were even able to have a taste of traditional Jewish foods, which were honey cake, potato latkes, and matzo, as well as a slice of apple.
Overall the trip was useful and interesting for our GCSE studies as we got to see Judaism as a living religion, bringing to life what we had previously only discussed in class.”