Practices and rituals The Synagogue
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Practices and rituals The Synagogue

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Practices and rituals The Synagogue




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Slide1

Practices and rituals

Slide2

The Synagogue

For Jews, the synagogue is a communal place of worship and is considered to be a place of gathering, of prayer, of study, and of learning.

TASKDo a Google image search of synagogues. Compare the different pictures; what common features do you see? How would you recognize a synagogue if you saw one?

Slide3

The Torah Scroll

The

Sefer

Torah

, or

Toral

scroll, is the text of the five books of Moses written on parchment. It is the absolute most

sacred

object of Jewish life and it is

essential

for worship.

The Torah scroll is always kept in a special place of honour within the synagogue. Each scroll is wrapped in a beautiful covering and is kept in a gold or silver container. In fact, the parchment of the Torah cannot

ever be even touched!

The reader will often use a pointer to follow along with the text.

All synagogues need at least one Torah scroll, but some have a few to make sure the different readings are always prepared and there is no hold up during service/worship.

Slide4

The Ark of the Covenant & the holy ark

According to Jewish tradition, when the Hebrews received the 10 Commandments from God in the desert, they were told to make “an ark in which to place them”. This is called

the Ark of the Covenant

.

What is an ark?

An ark is a chest or

cabinet

like structure. In today’s synagogues, the

Holy Ark

sits on a raised platform in the synagogue and holds the Torah scrolls when they are not being used for worship.

The Ark of the Covenant is believed to have looked something like this.

Modern Holy Arks are more like cabinets, and can be wooden or much fancier. See the Torah scrolls wrapped up inside?

Slide5

Who runs a service at the synagogue?

Anybody who is trained, knowledgeable, and capable can conduct and lead a worship service, but this is usually the rabbi who does this as the “master of prayer”.

What is the role of the rabbi?

A rabbi is a trained scholar, a teacher, an interpreter of Jewish law, a counsellor, and is the officiant of special ceremonies like bar mitzvahs.

What other roles are necessary to the service?

Many synagogues have a

cantor

, a singer who chants the worship service. This person may also serve as prayer master.

TASK:

Search up “Jewish Cantor” or “Cantor Synagogue” on YouTube and listen for yourself! Does it remind you of anything? Do you like this kind of music? Why or why not?

Slide6

blessings

Blessings are the foundation of Jewish prayer. Through blessings, Jews believe that they acknowledge, praise, thank, and petition God.

There are

3

kinds of blessings:

A blessing of thanks to God for enjoying anything with your 5 senses.

Ex.

Kiddush:

A blessing recited when people drink a special kosher wine on a holy day.

A blessing that is recited before performing a

mitzvah

to acknowledge that a

mitzvah

is to complete the commandment given to them by God and to thank God for the chance to fulfil a religious duty.

A blessing to praise, thank, or petition (ask for something from) God. Recited at the beginning of each festival.

Slide7

Service

at the synagogue

There are

3 daily worship services, held in the evening, the afternoon, and the morning.Seems weird to say “evening, afternoon, and morning”, right? But this is because according to Jewish tradition, the day begins and ends with sunset, making the evening service the first of the day.The Torah scroll is the central part of worship.

The Torah is broken into 54 sections. One portion is read each week (for two weeks of the year, there is a double reading) so that

over the course of the year, the entire Torah will be read.

Slide8

Shabbat aka Sabbath

The most important of Jewish rituals

WHAT IS SABBATH?

The Sabbath is the Jewish day of rest, based upon the Genesis stories.WHEN IS SABBATH?Based on the Jewish tradition of days beginning and ending at sunset, the Sabbath is from Friday evening (sunset) to Saturday evening (sunset).

HOW DOES ONE PARTICIPATE IN SABBATH?

Sabbath is a time to put away work, shopping, housework, even homework! But, it is very important to understand that it is

not

a time of restriction, but of rejuvenation! The Sabbath is a day to make time for the really important things like prayer, friends, and family.

At sunset on Friday, Jews go to the synagogue where the service opens with the lighting of the candles as a reminder of creation – “Let there be light”.

After the service, they return home for the Sabbath dinner, which begins with the

Kiddush

blessing. Then Challah, a special egg bread, is blessed and shared. After dinner, special songs are sung and prayers are recited. Sabbath ends with service on Saturday sunset, with a prayer that separates Sabbath from the rest of the week.