Allyson Te.

Response to the Asbell Center

This Friday I went to the Asbell Center on campus. It was a very new experience for me as I have never been to a place outside my own religion. First of all, I was surprised at how small the room was. Normally, I believe that there aren’t many people who attend the service, but on Friday there were because there were several people from our class and from another class which surprised the people who normally came. Because of this, the woman who was running the congregation explained the things that they do and why. For example, she explained why their Sabbath is on a Friday and that the services are dedicated to celebrating this day. She also explained which readings were in Hebrew and which readings were in Aramaic, which was the language that Jesus spoke.

The part of the service that I thought was the most interesting was the part where they discussed a reading of the Torah, which they do every week. On Friday, there was a girl of about twelve years old who got up and discussed the part of the Torah she had read for the service. She made a joke about how many people were there that night, so that was another hint that normally not many people go to the service. She discussed topics like sacrifice and the Dietary Laws, which were basically created to protect the people. The forbidden animals were mainly carnivores because they were considered sacred to the religion. What was interesting to me was the fact that the people of the congragation discussed the topics that the girl had just talked about. I learned even more about these things. This showed that there was a close relationship among the members of the congregation, and I wondered whether there are discussions in normal synagogues which have more members in their congregation.

Overall, I was glad that I went to the Asbell Center. It gave me a different look on religions, since I had never been to a different place before. I learned many little things also, such as the fact that during certain verses of songs you had to stand towards the door or you had to bow. Another thing I learned was the Kaddish, which is a prayer in memory of those who have died.

Tonight I went to the Catholic service held in Old West. It was a very refreshing experience since I have not gone to church in a long time, so I do not remember much of the customs of church. I was very nervous when I was there. I felt at times that I did not belong and I should not be there. It was awkward singing the songs, and I felt bad when everyone was repeating the prayers that I did not know. In the end it felt good to pray and be thankful for all the gifts that I have been given especially after a long week that did not end well.

I was very surprised by all the different types of people who came to the service. I thought that it would be mostly college students, but there were actually more adults and families with children than college students. I was also surprised at the dress. I remember when I was little I was always forced to wear a dress to go to church. Many people were not dressed up at all. There was one guy who was wearing sweats and a sweatshirt. I was also very impressed by the college students who ran the Bible readings and the playing and singing of the hymns. I was not aware that college students were big participants in the masses on Sunday evenings.

I thought that the priest was nice. While we were waiting for the mass to begin he struck up a conversation with Kate and me. He also explained to the group what he was wearing and why, and also the rules of the mass for example why he had to give a homily. Unfortunately he was very hard to understand since he mumbled a lot. I couldn’t really understand what his homily was really about because of this, and I wish that I did because I’m sure that that is the best part of the mass.

Overall this was a very good and interesting experience for me!