Having visited a mosque and a church already, we were all looking forward to a trip to Leeds to look around a synagogue. The children were able to look at the Torahs which were kept in a holy ark. These were wrapped in velvet and decorated with silverware. We learned all about the symbolic meaning of these decorations. The children were all then able to look at a Torah and Carol used a Yad to point to the scripture. It was amazing to hear that this had all been written by hand using a quill and ink! Everyone made their own miniature scroll with the Hebrew symbols for the word “Shalom” (hello and goodbye) written on it. Leon had remembered what letters the symbols represented and was able to spell out shalom. Some of us even had the opportunity to dress up and we heard all about the prayer shawl and why it has 613 knots- one for each commandment. We compared this to the prayer beads that we had seen at the mosque and the rosary beads that some Christians use in prayer.
The children were well prepared and had lots of questions to ask about Judaism. Carol, who was in charge of our educational visit, was most impressed. She has invited us back again, saying that the children were very, very, very well behaved!
The trip was topped off with a lovely picnic in the winter sunshine; an unexpected treat!
Following the trip, Haseeb commented “I liked the Torah scroll,” and Eva and some other children said that they had enjoyed making their own scrolls. Leo, who had dressed in Jewish prayer clothing said “I liked the hat,” and Keegan reminded us that this headwear is called a kippah. Amber particularly liked the velvet covers on the scrolls, saying that they were pretty.
We would like to thank Mrs Kauser for organising our trips and to Mrs Peake and Ms O’Donnell for driving the minibuses as well as everyone else who has joined us on our visits.