When I entered a synagogue for the first time

Hello people of the Universe !

Check my precedent post, I explained why I wanted to enter a synagogue! In the meantime, my friend called the president of the Israeli association and he proposed us to come on Wednesday, 16th at 6.30pm, just before the service. We went and I have a lot to tell about what I saw there and what happened exactly!

 The day before, my friends and I were working on the observation grid for our socio-psychological research with our teacher when a girl jumped into the conversation. She had heard we wanted to observe women’s behaviors and participation to the service and she was afraid we couldn’t make it. She said it would be complicated for us to attend a service and she asked where we were going. In a sudden, all the words I had pronounced since the beginning went through my mind. It was clear she was Jewish and I wondered if I had said anything wrong or disrespectful (yes, it seems we only care about what we say when people can hear us…). Obviously, she was interested in our work, she even said it was pretty nice and she explained what we could expect from that immersion. She has been very helpful and sweet.

Something impressed me to be honest. She stopped working on her own observation and sat with us to explain that next Thursday would be the celebration of Purim. She took time to describe what would happen and encouraged us to go (there will be kids all dressed up and challah, of course I want to go!). It impressed me because I think faith is personal. You barely share with strangers about your habbits, your traditions or your spiritual beliefs. I feel grateful she was open to dialogue and even eager to speak sincerely of her community. I still feel a bit confused because it is not the same to read about Judaism or speak about it with people online as sitting with a real Jew made of bones and flesh and listening or asking questions to her. It is kind of a challenge, in fact. For example, I like speaking about Judaism because I believe it is all about questioning yourself, but when you are in front of someone who could tell you “no, what you are talking about is not exactly the truth”, “you didn’t understand the meaning of the Hebrew word” or “what, you don’t know that?”, you feel a bit insecure. But believe me, curiosity wins.Read More »

I will enter a synagogue, want to know more?

Hello people of the Universe ! (or should I say Shalom?)

In the next posts, I will write about my first time in a synagogue, how I got there, why, and especially how I feel now about my experience. Don’t hesitate to share your opinions and questions, I look forward to talk with you!

Here is how everything started.

For the second semester, I have to do an obversation with two of my friends for university. When we had to decide what we could observe, I came up saying “what about religious places?” and we all ended up thinking that would be very interesting. We are atheist, not even raised in catholic faith, but we enjoy discovering new perspectives and ways of life. To say the truth, I wanted a reason to enter a synagogue and understand how Jewish communities work. Being in touch with several Jews, their traditions and ways of thinking have aroused my curiosity and I thought that doing a sociological/psychological analysis while being in a synagogue would be a complete delight.Read More »