The Jewish Synagogue that I visited was an imposing edifice that was magnificently structured and whose architectural layout was well laid out. I visited Temple Emanu-El of New York. I must say the temple is so large beyond what I expected it would look. The church stood at the center of the compound and was well spaced out by the fences and the branches of trees that gave the impression that the church building and the surrounding plantation were age mates. The style of architecture was English and was ancient in the manner in which it appeared. From a distance, it was hard to deny that the building made the ambiance of the vicinity seem like an old London town in the middle of the United States. The architecture, the craftsmanship, and the constructions were created to last long, and it was evident from the way that the church building stood erect in the compound.
The shape, design and the location of the building told the story of people that are true to their quest to seek the kingdom of God and nothing less than that. The synagogue was located in a rather secluded area, and it was clear to see that it was the only building around the place. The only other building that neighbored the church was a gated resort. For this reason, I found the building to have primarily been intended to assist the people in their study of the word and to provide a haven and a sanctuary where the people could escape to and find solace in their belief in the faith. I found it to have been well calculated to fit into the program of the place, the people, and the surrounding environment.
When I entered the Temple Emanu-El, I felt like you had entered into some form of sanctuary as I had never done before. I felt like I had come to a kind of place that was surrounded by some form of holiness like I had never experienced before. As I entered into the temple, I saw the Jewish Star of David that featured prominently in many of the artifacts both within and outside of the temple. I asked and was told that the Jewish Star of David symbolized the fact that God is the Jewish rule of the Universe. I also learned more about the role of the Shield of David and the Hexagram and the way that it was used in the Jewish centers of worship.
When I entered the temple, I was greeted with wide eyes of wonder that seemed to notice that I was not one of them. The people were having kind of prayer recital with pieces of clothes wrapped around their shoulders. They seemed to be praying from a book that contained what looked like the script of prayer so that they kept refereeing to the book from time to time. There was a man that acted as a guide in the prayer while the others followed in what he said. I found the way that the Jews prayed to be similar to the way that the Muslims pray. They would bend on all fours and make their foreheads touch the ground as they recited the words of the prayer.
There was space in front of every individual dedicated to worship. It was at these spaces that they bent over and said their prayers. There was also a kind of structure that stood at the front of the congregation, and space seemed to have what looked like a podium. There were men at the front of the congregation that had instruments that looked like little cymbals and a triangle that they kept hitting gently as the other men made their incessant chanting. The way that they sang was strange to me as it was almost mystical with the manner in which they repeated aspects of their worship.
The space that was used for worship made me feel like I did not belong there and it would take some time to get used to being around such an environment. There were special scents that were not particularly sweet, but that seemed to have some meaning attached to them. There were also incessant calls and melodic tones of voices that needed one to get used. The people also had some little caps on that made them look Muslim, and this made me feel odd for I did not have the little caps. There were people from many professions, and they all appeared Jewish to me. The place that I went to was a men's only square as one of they told me. All the people there were hence men that appeared to be above adolescence age. I figured that the main rituals of the sermon were the reading of the holy Jewish book and the chanting of their hymns that they sand off their heads. I still wonder why the service resembles Muslim worship and prayer. I would follow up to find out whether there is a relationship between the two religions. I would say the experience was eye-opening.
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