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Synagogue Visit Essay

1012 words - 5 pages

Saturday, November 30, 2013 marked the fourth night of Chanukah. It was also the day that my friend Brandon and I visited the Center for Jewish Life in Marlboro, N.J. According to the information I gathered from different online news articles, it is a fairly new reform Synagogue that opened its doors in another smaller location in 2004. The current site of the temple was the former Monmouth Worship Center. Rabbi Yossi Kanelsky, with the help of the members of the congregation, relocated to this 18,000 square foot building in 2011. The temple is currently located within a scenic community off of Route 79 surrounded by private homes. The Synagogue can accommodate more than 500 people and ...view middle of the document...

Since the service was in Hebrew and most of the people in the room did not speak it, every few minutes, Rabbi Kaneslsky would flip to a new page. This is done so everyone, no matter when they arrived, would know where the congregation was in their prayers. If the Rabbi was busy with reading from the Torah, another man, which was his helper, would turn to the correct page. Also, it seemed like he had two people who we’re also dressed in religious attire helping him conduct the services that morning.
As the service proceeded, I noticed that there would be specific times when the congregation would stand up and read lines in Hebrew out loud. The congregation would conclude each line with a loud “Amen”. Also, various individuals would come up to read the main Torah, which was situated on a large pedestal in the middle of the men’s section. At random, the Rabbi would call upon different men, who were given a special silver pointer. This instrument was used to follow the readings of the Torah. If the person was not able to read in Hebrew, a Russian or English translated page would be next to the Torah. When the reading of the Torah was complete, another man walked up and lifted the Torah to show everyone in the congregation. Then, the man covered the Torah in an elaborate cloth which had the names of the family who donated the Torah to the Synagogue imprinted on it. After, the Torah was placed in the front of the room in a new decorative compartment, and everyone in the Temple went up to kiss the Torah.
At the conclusion of the service, the Rabbi read a summary on what the congregation specifically prayed about. Additionally, he was extremely descriptive and emotional during this explanation. For example, the Rabbi used real world depictions to demonstrate how hardship and triumph will remain constant throughout the generations. Because the session was...

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