On Friday 1st March, Farrington Gurney had a visit from Iris Segall, who works for Bristol and West Progressive Jewish Community (BWPJC). Normally, schools visit the synagogue, but on this occasion, Iris was happy to come and speak to us about Judaism.
Iris first of all held an assembly for the whole school, which was about Tu B'Shevat - the Jewish festival celebrating trees. It is also known as Rosh HaShanah La'Ilanot or 'New Year of the Trees' and it is when new trees are planted and Jewish people raise awareness of ecological issues. In the assembly, Iris challenged us to think about how we can help look after our environment and asked us what else we can do to try and look after our world.
Later on in the morning, Iris spoke to Class 3 about Judaism. Class 3 had been finding out about Judaism the previous term and as a result had lots of questions to ask. Iris spoke about Shabbat, the Jewish celebration of rest that starts every Friday evening and ends on Saturday evening. She also spoke about the synagogue and also spoke about the difference between Orthodox and Progressive Judaism. In an Orthodox Synagogue, men and women sit seperately and only men can lead a service. In a Progressive Synagogue, men and women sit together and women can lead services.
Iris also talked about the menorah and the reason why there are seven holders on the menorah. She also talked a bit about Hanukkah, and shared the story about why hanukkiah has nine holders rather than seven. Some of the children in Year 3 got the opportunity to wear a Jewish skull cap, or kippah and a prayer shawl, or tallit.
It was a fun and informative morning. We hope to visit the synagogue at a later date.