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B’nai Aviv Synagogue: Shabbat Service Essay

2343 words - 10 pages

Established in 1988, the B’nai Aviv Synagogue is one of South Florida’s most prestigious Conservative Jewish structures of worship. According to the article, “Conservative Judaism – Religious Facts,” these synagogues seek to escape the immoderations of Reform and Orthodox Judaism while preserving traditional elements through practical modernization. For example, “Conservative Judaism holds that the laws of the Torah and Talmud are of divine origin, and thus mandates the following of Halacha (Jewish law). At the same time, the Conservative movement recognizes the human element in the Torah and Talmud, and accepts modern scholarship that shows that Jewish writings also show the influence of other cultures, and in general can be treated as historical documents” (“Conservative Judaism.”). Correspondingly, this association believes that God is existent, as his spirit is exhibited though revelations similar to the experience on Mt. Sinai. Lastly, Conservative Jews are strongly concerned with future generations’ commitment to Judaism (“Conservative Judaism.”). Nevertheless, the Conservative movement has excelled through the establishment of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which incorporates 1.5 million Jews in 760 gatherings, including the B’nai Aviv Synagogue (“Conservative Judaism - ReligionFacts.”).
Located in Weston, Florida, the B’nai Aviv Synagogue was a symmetrical beige structure concealed behind picturesque landscape and a five-foot, nine-candle menorah. According to the article, “The Menorah Jewish Virtual Library,” a nine-candle menorah is typically used on Chanukkah and symbolizes the nation of Israel and the assignment to be “a light unto other nations.” On the other hand, a seven-candle menorah symbolizes the seven days of creation with the middle candle representing the Sabbath. The menorah also refers to the burning bush witnessed by Moses on Mount Horeb (“About the Menorah.”). Inside, the synagogue’s floor was enclosed in dynasty brown marble, while the walls nurtured various gold plaques indicating benevolent names. Correspondingly, the sanctuary encompassed stained glass windows, a platform in the upper middle portion of the room, and an eternal light. The eternal light is typically situated above the Torah Ark and is a symbol of the endless light that burned in the Holy Temple of Jerusalem (“The Eternal Light - Synagogue.”). The sanctuary lamp also symbolizes one’s faith in God, God’s presence, and the menorah (“The Eternal Light - Synagogue.”). On the other hand, perched on top of the platform was the Israel flag, the Bimah, and the Ark. This Holy Ark is typically stationed on the Eastern wall in order to face the City of Jerusalem (“The Ark - Synagogue.”). The Ark contains the Torah and can only be opened for special prayers, including the Torah service. Correspondingly, The Bimah is an elevated podium where the Torah is read. According to the article, “Bimah,” “the Bimah has steps on its two sides so that those...

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