Personal Statement On Religious Visit

Better Essays
Camille Montgomery
Comparative Religion
Dr. Gstohl
26 June 2015
Religious Visit Paper

When given the opportunity, I am usually open to and enjoy stepping out of my comfort zone. This project allowed me to do just that. For my religious visit, I visited Shaare Emeth, Reformed Jewish Synagogue on Saturday June 20, 2015 for their Shabbat Morning Worship Service at 11 a.m. It is located at 11645 Ladue Rd, St. Louis, MO 63141.
The synagogue was an extremely modern looking building, and in my opinion looked like most churches that I have been to and am more familiar with. Pulling into the parking lot, there were newer vehicles and luxury vehicles, which made me believe most of the members were of a middle to high socioeconomic class. There was
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Everybody looked very cheerful and benevolent. It felt like one big family gathering. We entered the synagogue and there were plush chairs and carpet embellished with nature like colors and leaf designs. The roof was high, there was a lot of light, gold accents, a stained glass window, wooden beams that were exposed, as well as a wooden bureau, which housed the Torah. There were also candles and podium/table from which the rabbi spoke.
At the front, there were three Rabbis; two male and one female. This was the first evident sign that this temple was reformed, on the grounds that in Orthodox and some Conservative Judaism, leadership by a female is not permitted. Each of the three rabbis wore the talit, and one of them was the Cantor. He played a guitar and sang a song and the style reminded me of the praise and worship songs we sing at my church. He continued singing as people found seats. The service started with some singing in Hebrew. The lighting of the candles for Shabbat occurred next along with the reading of a blessing. Some more readings and songs followed that. A decent amount of the service was in Hebrew, particularly the singing, however there were also times that English was also spoken. Since the books were in Hebrew, which reads from right to left, the books opened in reverse. This took some getting used to; however, there were English translations. The following segment of the service is what I describe as a parade of the Torah. The Torah,
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