Sun 19 Feb 2006
I decided to attend a Jewish service at the Asbell Center on Friday evening. I was interested in further exploring Judaism because I attended several Bat Mitzvah’s during middle school and never understand many of their traditions. I only really attend Church for Christmas and sometimes Easter, so I did not have much to compare their traditions and way of conducting services to.
The specific service that I attended was a Shabbat that takes place on a Friday night which is time for individuals to relax and reflect and disengage from the work week. Individuals entered the room and had a chance to put on a head covering and take a book. When I entered the room I felt relaxed, because the room was rather small; however the members seemed to be very welcoming. The service started off with a female member lighting a pair of candles and a prayer being said. Following, a glass of wine was drunk after a prayer was recited to God. Introductions were made, since the members noticed there were many new faces attending the service. I think this was a very important thing to do, because it made the “first-timers” feel welcomed. Also, explanations to their specific traditions and translations were pointed out, which helped me better understand what was going on.
A series of prayers and songs were recited by the members, mostly in Hebrew. A member of the temple was selected to interpret and teach a story of the Torah, which is slowly read over the course of a year. This week the Ten Commandments were being discussed and was open for individuals to question and comment on the topic. I particularly liked how a member of the temple was able to help teach, which makes the service more interactive then simply someone preaching. One of the members commented that questions that can be as important as answers, which I thought was interesting. I thought the ark, which holds the Torah was very beautiful and had such intricate patterns.
The whole experience was very laidback, which allowed me to absorb their specific traditions. As we were departing, the members seemed to be pleased that other people of possibly different religions were interested in their religion. I hope to visit the Asbell Center again and hopefully observe even more about Judaism.