Synagogue Through the Eyes of a Roman Catholic

Essay by -eQuinOx-High School, 11th grade February 2005

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I walked into Congregation B'nai Jacob not knowing what to expect. My knowledge of Judaism was limited to what I had learned in school, and my knowledge of their services was virtually inexistent, being that I was exposed exclusively to Christian services throughout my life. The purpose of this service was just like that of a normal Sunday Mass in Christianity, celebration of the Sabbath.

From the moment our group walked in, hospitality was not found wanting. They welcomed us wholeheartedly, showed us in to the synagogue, and helped us with our yarmulkas. Everyone present before the service started promptly introduced themselves and was extremely friendly. In addition, they explained the things in the synagogue and gave us a brief summary on what would transpire during the service. Throughout the course of the service, the Rabbi and the President of the Congregation gave us numerous mentions and really made me feel welcome.

The members of the congregation sitting close to us helped us throughout the course of the service, such as telling us when to sit, stand, or turn around. At the conclusion of the service, we were invited to the reception. One of the founders of the community began to tell about the beginnings of the Congregation and how the community has changed over the years. In addition, the Rabbi was extremely helpful in answering whatever questions we may have had. In fact, he took out some of the scrolls and showed us the meticulous work that goes into preparing for the services.

The dress requirements for the service were relatively relaxed. Of course, I knew that I was not going to wear jeans or anything of that sort. Out of the small group of us that attended the service, most of us wore our school uniform, similar to...