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An Orthodox Synagogue

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Welcome Inside this leaflet you will see: � Different pictures of the interior in different synagogues. � An explanation of how some of the most important features are used in a service. � How the morning Shabbat service is held. Introduction Jews have been meeting in what are now called synagogues for over 2,500 years. Wherever Jews are to be found throughout the world they set up synagogues. Synagogues are always built facing Israel, if possible towards Jerusalem where the first temple stood. Its main function is a place of worship, with the emphasis on prayer and reading. Features in a Synagogue Aron Hakodesh The Aron hakodesh can also be known as the Holy Ark and as you can see it can have many different appearances. Although it may look different in different synagogues it is always the main feature and is built into the east wall as this is the direction of Jerusalem. ...read more.


The Tablets of Stone Above the Ark is a representation of the two tablets of stone and written upon them in Hebrew are the first two words of each of the Ten Commandments which God gave to Moses. They are a reminder that this is the way in which God wishes them to live. Men and women in the Synagogue Dress Jewish men cover their heads when they pray. In the Middle East where Judaism began, covering one's head is a sign of respect. The head covering is a skullcap called a kippah or yarmulke. In Orthodox communities married women cover their heads in synagogues. Men also wear a tallit (prayer shawl): in some services some women also do so. In the synagogue women normally sit in a different gallery to the men this is because it is thought that women can distract the men during the service. Jewish women do not play a leading role in worship, and they are not required to pray as much as men. ...read more.


When Jewish people enter the synagogue they bow and in Hebrew say "As for me, in the abundance of your loving kindness I will enter you house" The book of psalms is read to begin the service, the cantor sings about a great event in Jewish history he then says a blessing and everyone joins him in reading the Shema. The prayer Amidah is said when everyone stands to face the ark. The torah is taken from the ark and carried around the synagogue until it is finally placed upon the Bimah. A relevant portion is read for the day by a male member of the congregation When this has finished the Torah is taken back to the ark and the rabbi sometimes preaches a sermon. Amidah and the blessing Kaddish ends the service. Throughout our history, the Sabbath has been a focal point in our religious life. Even the poorest saw Shabbat as a ray of light in an otherwise dismal week. As for the non-observant, each Sabbath was still a constant weekly reminder, whether or not it was fully kept. ...read more.

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