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Place of worship

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A Place Of Worship. (A) (i) Describe the main features of a synagogue A synagogue is a place of worship for the Jewish community. Synagogue comes from a Greek word meaning to gather together. There are two types Jews; Orthodox and Reformed. I will be discussing the Orthodox synagogue because it is a more common group of Jews. Many Jews call the Synagogue by its Hebrew name Shul. The main features of all synagogues, particularly the symbols are designed to help people to worship God. An Orthodox synagogue has many features, which Jews find important to have. One feature of the synagogue is the Aron Hakodesh, this is the Ark for Jews this is the most important feature because it contains the scrolls of the law. The ark is a cupboard set in the wall of the orthodox synagogue that faces Jerusalem it is placed in front of the Bimah. When the Aron Hakodesh is not in use an embroidered curtain called a Parochet stretches across to cover the Ark, as it is the most important feature of the synagogue Jews try not to turn their backs on the Aron Hakodesh. An additional feature of the synagogue is the Bimah, it is a raised platform in the synagogue and many Jews consider the Bimah to be the focal point because it is in the middle of the Synagogue. The Bimah is supported by railings and often has lights on each corner. ...read more.


The Reform synagogue includes the Ten Commandments, Ark, Menorah, Ner Tamid and the Parochet. An additional object in the Reform Synagogue is a musical instrument that is placed at the back of the synagogue. (ii) Analyse and explain the role and function of the Rabbi in the synagogue and in the local Jewish community. The Rabbi is the teacher of the Orthodox synagogue, the Hebrew title Rabbi means 'my master'. In orthodox synagogues only men can become Rabbis, where as in Reform synagogues woman can become them. In the Orthodox Synagogue he is highly important as he reads the Torah daily in the daily gatherings in the synagogue. Also he helps guide the members of his community, he advises them how they should live their lives and gives them advice hoping that it will help them choose the right way of how to lead a happy life. Also he shows them what is wrong and right according to the Torah, he also represents the congregation to the community. The Orthodox synagogue gives permission to perform weddings, technically you do not need one; however it is important for a Rabbi to be present to ensure the complicated marriage ceremony is done properly. But he will also serve as pastoral counsellor, giving comfort and advice to the Jewish community, and attend funerals and preachers. A Reform Rabbi might aim to instruct the people in the teachings of Judaism and inspiring them to live better as Jews (iii) Analyse and explain the role and function of the synagogue in the local Jewish community. ...read more.


In addition vital events happen at the Orthodox synagogue such as Brit Milah, Bar Mitzvah, weddings and funerals, sometime in your Jewish life will you have to be present at a synagogue. Furthermore it is a Jews religious duty to attend the synagogue because the Orthodox synagogue is a house of God, it's a place to feel Gods presence and to pray with others. I believe if you don't pray then maybe God won't believe you to be a good Jew. On the other hand other Jews may approve with the statement, it may be easier for certain Jews to worship in the comfort of their own home. Also they may say that there is no synagogue in their local community and it is too far to travel to the synagogue every week. Additionally it is much more important to follow the Mitzvot then to attend the synagogue, surely if God knew you were keeping to all the 613 Mitzvot that is showing that you are a committed Jew and acknowledge your religion. Moreover people may say there was no synagogue at the very first start of Judaism so there is no reason to go now. On the whole I disagree with the statement because if you want to be considered, as a good Jew then you would have to show how much of a good Jew you are by attending the synagogue because it is the house of prayer, the house of study and the house of assembly and most importantly it's the house of God. You should attend the synagogue regularly and dedicate yourself. If you want to be considered as a good Jew. Megan Borg 04/11/2008 ...read more.

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