Thursday, November 27, 2008


Today we were able to visit the Jewish synagogue, just one street east of the Center. I was a little confused about the time we were meeting to walk over to the synagogue so I ended up walking over with Sister Benfell. The only thing was we couldn't figure out how to get in.

We tried opening the front doors you see here but let me tell you, they are fake. Then a couple more late comers showed up and we moved to the side of the building, and finally to the back where someone let us in. Luckily we were only a minute late.

This big curtain was cool. Our tour guide just pulled a little screen and it whipped open to reveal a locked door where they keep the Torah. It was great to learn a little more about the Jewish culture. I know the basics but I love to listen and learn more because I feel such an attachment to the Jewish culture. I feel like it is our heritage and we are similar in so many ways.

Here is a better picture of the inside of the synagogue. The men sit on the bottom level and the women sit on the top floor. The stand you can see is where the Torah is read. Some interesting things that I learned today were:

The Torah is only used in public. People don't own their own copies at home. I guess I had never really thought about this because the Bible has been available for private use for quite a while. I don't think I can imagine a world without my personal scriptures. They are such an important aspect in my life.

The gentleman giving our tour also talked a little about the Jewish temple. Someone asked him what had to be done for the temple to be rebuilt and his response was that the Messiah had to come first. I had known all this before but it is always amazing to be to sit and listen to them talk about the Messiah when I know Him so well. Afterwards, I was talking to Hillary, who just returned from a study abroad in Jerusalem and I was asking her a little more about the Jewish beliefs on the Messiah. Her answer was interesting. She said that the Jews are all about action, following the law, etc. they are not a theological religion. And so, they just believe that a Messiah will come but they do not talk about who or what he will be like.

I loved the tour. It was nice to learn a little more about our heritage and also learn about how the Jewish traditions have changed over the years. I am so grateful for the truths I have been taught from my youth.

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