This year in our school Bible curriculum, we are spending a lot of time in the Old Testament, learning about the traditions and festivals of the Jewish people. So far, we have learned about the Sabbath, the Passover, and the Day of Atonement. Using this wonderful book, Celebrating Biblical Feasts, by Martha Zimmerman, we have even celebrated shabbat with our family. And we will continue to celebrate other feasts as our school year continues.
All of this new knowledge about the Jewish faith has led to a lot of interest in Jewish people of today. The kids had questions like:
- Are there Jewish people in our city?
- Where do they worship?
- What is their synagogue like?
- What parts of their holy book are the same as ours?
The kids’ interest in Judaism led me to make a call to a local synagogue to ask if we’d be allowed to tour it and find out the answers to some of these questions. The woman who answered the phone graciously invited us to stop by that day, met us at the door, and took us on a tour of the beautiful synagogue. She answered a lot of our questions and helped us understand the Jewish synagogue and faith.
The synagogue was intricately beautiful and contained ornate symbols of the Jewish (and some Christian) faith such the Ten Commandments. It was wonderful for the kids to get an up-close view of what the Jewish place of worship is like. The field trip also gave us a good starting point to talking about the similarities and differences betweem Judaism and Christianity. The kids noticed the absence of all crosses from this place of worship.
Want to go too?
Contact a synagogue near you to ask if you are allowed to visit. The woman who gave us the tour explained that some synagogues do not allow non-Jewish people to enter.