Year 10 are currently studying the practices and beliefs of Judaism. To help pupils understand and experience the Jewish religious culture first hand, they ventured to the Birmingham Hebrew Congregation Synagogue, in Birmingham City Centre.
The building was first built in 1855 and therefore iconic in the area. The pupils thoroughly enjoyed asking questions and were greatly received by the tour guide who complimented our students on their outstanding attitude.
The pupils were taken on a guided tour, enabling them to see the important features found within a Jewish place of worship including:
The Ark and the Torah
Every synagogue contains an ‘Ark’, which is a cupboard where the ‘Torah Scrolls’ are kept (these contain the text of the Hebrew Bible, or the Torah) and a desk from which to read the Torah.
The platform and the desk for Torah readings are called the ‘Bimah’ and were found at the centre of the building.
Our pupils were told how, at the proper moment in the sabbath service, the Ark is ceremonially opened, and the Torah scroll is carried in procession to the reading desk, unrolled to the reading chosen for the day and laid on the reading desk.
It is normal for everyone to stand whenever the doors of the ark are open.
The pupils saw the hebrew words of the ‘Ten Commandments’ written above the ark.
The Eternal Light
The pupils were shown the ‘Eternal Light’ (called Ner Tamid) hanging above the Ark.
This light is always burning, as a symbol of God’s presence.
Photos courtesy of Mrs Roberts, school photographer.