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A01 Juadism

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A01. Select, describe and explain the essential features to be found in a synagogue in different branches of Judaism. For my features, I have selected the Aron Hakodesh, the Bimah, and the Sefer Torah and the separation of men and women. Each of which I believe are very important features of the synagogue. In my opinion, the most important part of the Synagogue is the Sefer Torah or Torah Scrolls. The Sefer Torah is the scroll on which the first five books of the Tenakh are written. These are very sacred scrolls as they are the word of God and if one mistake is made on a section the whole section must be removed and put in storage or buried, similarly Torahs which are no longer in use are buried or put into storage as they are God's words so must be respected as such. In Sefardi communities, the Sefer Torah rests on two rollers and is kept in a heavy wooden or metal case, which is engraved and decorated. The two halves of the case open like a book to display the scroll. In Ashkenazi communities, the scroll is kept bound with a linen binder over which a velvet or silk cover placed. ...read more.


The Ark is covered with a curtain called the parokhet which is often beautifully embroidered with many different symbolic images. Exodus 26:31 and 33 tells of this: "For the inside of the Tabernacle, make a special curtain of finely woven linen. Decorate it with blue, purple, and scarlet thread and with skilfully embroidered cherubim. Hang the inner curtain from clasps, and put the Ark of the Covenant in the room behind it. This curtain will separate the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place". One of the most important symbols on the parokhet is the Shield of David or Magen David which is the Symbol of Judaism. Above the Aron Hakodesh there are more symbolic images, such as two stone tablets with the Ten Commandments on them and the Ner Tamid. The Ner Tamid is used as a reminder of menorah, this is described in Exodus 25:31-40 and 37:17-24 as a seven branched candle stick, of the Temple in Jerusalem, which remained miraculously lit for eight days. Exodus 27:20-1 says: "Command the people of Israel to bring you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to keep the lamps burning continually. ...read more.


This is a practical and spiritual separation, firstly men and women are separated to stop them from having improper thoughts in the synagogue and to keep them focused on the service and connected with God. On a practical level the men participate in the services and ceremonies however, the women do not so they need not be near the bimah or the Aron Hakodesh which is why they have a "women's gallery". This all links back to the Talmud which says that is men and women must be separated on the saddest of occasions then they must be separated on the happiest, the example given is the Simchat Beit Hashoeivah on Sukkot, which is a time of great celebration and festivity. In Reform Judaism the seating plan is very different. These Jews believe that men and women have equal roles in the religion women can therefore participate in the religious services. Also, Reform Jews believe that men and women know that they are in the synagogue to pray and to connect with God, not to be promiscuous. The seating plan is important because it shows a persons importance in the synagogue. ?? ?? ?? ?? Jamilla Flaherty 11HG 10/27/2007 760 Words 1/2 Jamilla Flaherty 11HG 10/27/2007 760 Words 1/2 ...read more.

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