Jewish synagogue: A brief overview
My experience at the synagogue during Sabbath
Relevance of the Sabbath to Judaism
Personal reflection and conclusion
Introduction The human race is characterized by its high level of variance exhibited in clothing, language, ideologies and religion to name but a few. This differences which are mostly as a result of cultural diversity and socialization are not only visible in our ways of life but also in the religious tenets that guide us.
Through out time, man has engaged in the practice many religions each serving a specific purpose to its faithful. As a result, there are many religions through which various cultures attain their spiritual and moral bearings in a bid to bring themselves closer to a higher power (deity).
The different religions are differentiated in terms of beliefs, customs and purpose and are similar in one way or the other. This paper shall set out to describe my personal experience at a Jewish synagogue. To this end, I shall explain a ritual that I observed and its impact on my life. In addition, I shall highlight various aspects that I found intriguing at this place of worship. Considering that I am not Jewish, I shall also reflect on how the congregation treated me during the service.
Jewish synagogue: A brief overview According to Rich, the Jewish community goes to the synagogue for prayers, Torah readings and teachings (1). These practices act as replacements for the ritual sacrifices practiced by Jews of older days. The synagogue has three main functions: firstly, it is a beit tefilah; which means a house of prayer.
In Judaism, group prayers play an integral part in strengthening faith. The synagogue presents the followers with an avenue through which this practice can be observed. Secondly, the synagogue is also a house of study where Jewish children are taught about their religion, culture and moral practices. This process is commonly known as the bat mitzvah. Thirdly, like most places of worship, the synagogue acts as a social gathering place where various social and charity events can be held.
My experience at the synagogue during Sabbath A few weeks ago, I visited a Jewish place of worship called Temple Sinai which is located in Summit, New Jersey. My main aim was to observe a ritual that is commonly practiced by the Jewish community (the Sabbath prayers held on Friday evenings).
Considering that I was from a different religion and that this was my first time to enter a synagogue, I did not know what to expect. However, the little research I had done on this religion gave my some clues on how to behave and what the experience ought to be like (especially to a visitor).
Get your 100% original paper on any topic done in as little as 3 hours Learn More This synagogue practices Reform Judaism. This means that they welcome innovation in their religious practices all the while preserving the traditions that founded the religion (Temple Sinai, New Jersey 1). Upon entry into the synagogue, I received a warm welcome from members of the congregation.
I was offered a small round cap familiarly known as a yarmulke. The main purpose of this cap was to show respect to God and the place of worship. As I came to learn, all men and women are expected to cover their heads while at the synagogue. After wearing the cap, I was directed to a sit on the front rows. The portion of the synagogue where prayer rituals are held is known as a sanctuary and it is located at the front of the synagogue facing Jerusalem.
The set up within the synagogue was most intriguing. There were some salient items which as I later learnt were not part of the décor, but significant attributes to the religious rituals held at the synagogue. Key among them was an Ark which resembles a cabinet and holds the Torah scrolls (Holy Scriptures).
In fact, the Ark is commonly known as the Aron Kodesh which translates to the “holy cabinet”. Slightly above the ark, there was a lamp (ner tamid). “This lamp symbolizes the commandment to keep a light burning in the Tabernacle outside of the curtain surrounding the Ark of the Covenant (Rich 1)”. Finally, there was a pedestal commonly referred to as the bimah onto which the torah scrolls are placed when they are being read (BBC 1).
The prayers that were cited were very methodical. Every time the scrolls were retrieved or returned to the Ark, all congregants were supposed to stand. In addition, I noticed that the curtains inside the Ark could be opened or closed in some prayers. This I came to learn was an honor given to members of the congregation. Similarly, English translations of the prayers and citations were made available. As such, a visitor could easily follow on the proceedings without the feeling of segregation or isolation.
Relevance of the Sabbath to Judaism The Sabbath is among the commonly celebrated events in Jewish communities. The purpose of this celebration is to remind the Jewish community that everything that the earth provides is indeed gifts that God has presented to them. As such, Friday evenings are spent welcoming the Sabbath through prayers, blessings and feasts.
The prayers that I attended are part of the rituals that are practiced during this ritual. This means that there are other rituals practiced during Sabbath. However, the prayers at the synagogue presents the congregants with an opportunity to pray together, discuss various scriptures and get valuable teachings form their rabbi.
We will write a custom Essay on Jewish Synagogue experience specifically for you! Get your first paper with 15% OFF Learn More Personal reflection and conclusion This experience was very insightful to me. Despite the fact that I attended the service out of curiosity, I was surprised to find that I actually learnt something. To begin with, the level of organization as exhibited by the congregants was impressive. Each member new their roles and they executed them perfectly.
Their attentiveness, mannerisms and respect for their place of worship was also very admirable. In a sense, I felt the presence of God in the synagogue. By participating in the prayers, I felt at peace and thankful for what I had. People always take life for granted and in most cases forget to give thanks to God for what they have achieved. This experience was a wakeup call for me. This is especially so in regard to the fact that we often forget to thank God in wealth and only as for his assistance during hardships.
Similarly, I was surprised to find out that there are some similarities between Judaism and Christianity. In both religions, some prayers are cited in unison. In addition, the lighting of the candle is symbolic in both religions. Finally, praying together is equally important to both religions. On the other hand, there were some notable differences. The covering of the congregants’ heads is not as important to Catholics as it is to Jews.
In addition, the sharing and breaking of bread in the catholic is done in the church (Sacrament) while the Jews do that in their homes. Despite our differences in modes of worship, we all seek to find spiritual fulfillment from our religions. It would therefore be a worthwhile endeavor if we could embrace the common aspects in our religions and tolerate the differences. This would in the end, ensure a harmonious coexistence within the human race.
Works Cited BBC. The synagogue. 13 August, 2009. Web.
Rich, Tracy. Synagogues, Shuls and Temples. 2001. Web.
Temple Sinai, New Jersey. What is Reform? 2011. Web.
The Impact of the Internet on Traditional Crime Essay
Nursing Assignment Help Introduction The advent of the Internet has impacted upon the social values of the people while transforming the whole world into a global village. The technological developments have inter alia intruded the life of every human being and the very traditional values continue to erode giving ample chances for the criminals to walk in and make the Internet their safe abode to engage in various crimes from the remote.
Anonymous aggression, hacking and fraudulent trading activities have become common on the Internet and the traditional or conventional crimes are on the increase by making use of the conveniences of easy and instant data exchange relating to crimes (Kim, 2008).
Traditional crimes in this context are those major crimes such as genocide and homicide, and the lesser crimes like swindle, assault, theft etc. which are motivated due to lust and greed. Generally, such crimes do not target a specific victim but they become detriment to the global community and its economy. The traditional and organized criminals will find their victims through the internet and subject them to the predatory crimes of extortion and complex crimes of fraud, piracies and counterfeiting (Schneider, 2000).
How the Internet helps the criminals
The advancement in the modern computer technologies and the Internet has put radical changes in the concept of information and the mode of exchanging the data. It equally changed the ways of conducting business on an international level. But the very information and the business activities are exposed to major risks due to the illegal activities of the criminals.
They have found that the computer technology and the Internet are safe ways for them to commit the crimes regardless of traditional and new crimes (Wolafka, 2004). The Internet technology has capacitated them to put their schemes across to thousands of people when compared to a few people who are reached by means of conventional operation style by using the postal and telephone service.
The invention of DTP (Desk Top Publishing), color printers, Xerox machines etc. have made counterfeiting much easier and economical, facilitating them to produce bogus bills and other documents. The same is the case with pirate software, music and other entertainment programs. The criminals can also penetrate the networks of the targeted companies by hacking, resulting in the damage and loss of their valuable and secured data (Schneider, 2008).
Internet and traditional crimes
The present union of traditional, but unorganized criminal activities, has made it possible for them to reap more money out of their operations on the victims through the cyber facilities. The combination of modern technology, access to international markets, and the ever increasing fiscal cyber crimes prove that these anti social elements have more opportunities than earlier. Their activities if not curtailed can pave the way to harm stable countries and the global commerce.
Get your 100% original paper on any topic done in as little as 3 hours Learn More To check this, there is urgent need to develop and implement rigorous methods and technology to predict the accuracy and occurrence of future crimes. In order to obtain an accurate estimate about the crime tendencies and their frequencies effective methods of crime trend analysis together with statistical modeling must be adopted considering the changing social set up and innovations in the technologies.
The correlation between the criminal activity rate and the economy will explain the reason for the increase of cyber crimes. The general view is that accumulation of more wealth by the individuals can lead to crimes (Schneider, 2008).
Relationship between income and criminal activities
According to Field (1990), the rise in income can trigger only the possession of the basic amenities of our living style namely, food, shelter, conveyance, social welfare schemes etc. But they will in no way become a mean to the rise in crimes, especially cyber crimes. This is evident from the developments in technology in accordance with the standard of living of the people and the crime levels seen after the Second World War. However, the western civilization has witnessed more crimes in the field of power and the media.
Factors that increase crimes Demographic and Macro economic factors
It is believed widely that the demographic factors cause the increase in crime rates and that this variable is seen in places where the proportion of young males is larger than the females. Thus, based on the demographic and macro economic standards and trends, it was established that the crime rate in United Kingdom and United States till 2010 would be above the average crime rate found during the past 10 to 15 years.
Moreover, the coming decades will see that the traditional crimes like counterfeiting, pornography, money laundering etc. are committed by adopting technological devices in the form of internet facilities. Internet will become the main vehicle by which traditional as well as other crimes are executed. In nutshell, the computer and cellular age will bring in transformation of the traditional crimes.
A large section of the youth will spend their time and effort to commit more and more internet crimes such as unauthorized securing of electronic signals and computer network hackings. Due to these the governments, businesses and households will become victimized and senior citizens will become the target of criminal attacks (Schneider, 2008).
History of Crimes in USA
In the United States, the traditional and organized crimes originated after the 18th century with the victimization of the people of New York, Boston etc. The New York’s Forty Thieves Gang had put fear among the people during 5 decades from 1820 to 1860. Thereafter, the Irish immigrants also formed different gangs to commit crimes including burglary and extortion.
We will write a custom Essay on The Impact of the Internet on Traditional Crime specifically for you! Get your first paper with 15% OFF Learn More These gangs were largely supported by the politicians to meet their private ends. In return, these gangs were given full protection from the police authorities (Ward