Roles of the Synagogue
The synagogue is a place for the Jewish people to worship God, or more
particularly, where Jewish people can hear the Torah being read and
pray to God. As well as functioning as a House of Prayer, or 'Beit ha
Tefilah', the synagogue is also known as House of Assembly, 'Beit ha
Knesset' and House of Study, 'Beit ha Midrash'.
'On three things the world stands', says the Mishnah, 'On the study of
the Torah, on worship and on deeds of kindness'. This quote reflects
the functions of the synagogue distinctly. 'The study of the Torah' is
the reason the name 'House of Study' is given to the synagogue. The
Torah is guidance to how Jews live; it is the fundamental basis of
Judaism. 'On worship', the first commandment is to 'Worship one God',
this shows the importance of worship and is the reason the name 'House
of Prayer' is given to the synagogue. Worshipping together also gives
more glory to God. 'On deeds of kindness', this is a suggestion of
giving charity, and in a community you are and support one another.
Charity suggests assembly because you gather together to show charity
and 'deeds of kindness' to one another and others around.
The synagogue is known as House of Assembly, 'Beit ha Knesset'. This
reflects the fact that the synagogue is a place for Jewish people to
meet together as a community. Jews share important facets of their
lives with one another and achieve a great sense of community. Notice
boards at the entrance of synagogues advertise forthcoming events such
as lectures and outings. Social and cultural activities take place in
the synagogue as well as charity events.
In the Northwood Orthodox Synagogue, for example, there are social
activities organised for 5-12 year olds such as 'The mum and toddler
group', 'Bedtime stories in the Shul', 'Cubs' and 'Brownies'. These
activities help young Jews meet each other at an early age. Many
activities organised are religious as well as social, such as
'Children's services', 'Sunday morning Minyanaires', 'Bar Mitzvahs',
'Cheder' and 'Children's parties'. These activities teach the younger
generation about Judaism as well as emphasising the importance of
socialising with others. There are also groups for women in the
Northwood Orthodox Synagogue such as 'The Ladies Guild', which is a
social group that organises outings and holds many responsibilities
within the synagogue.
In the Northwood and Pinner Liberal Synagogue, there are many social
events organised. The cultural activities include photography and
embroidery. There are also sporting events organised as well as
bereavement visitors, to help those in need of a 'sympathetic ear'.
There are not many social activities organised to teach Judaism, like
the Orthodox synagogue, but many activities are organised to bring the
community together. Being...