The Birthed Father of Christianity: Judaism – Denise Gonzalez-Abreu

Religious experiences to me are moments of sacred discovery. I believe that a religious encounter is a natural occurrence in the exploration of one’s self. This experience took hold in my life at the age of eighteen when I decided to become a born again Christian. Being a devoted follower of Christ, I choose Judaism as my topic for this journal entry. I presumed it to be enlightening to explore the origins that birthed my religion into motion. My expectation was to dive into the detailed description of life before the arrival of my savior. Those expectations revealed themselves to be far from the reality.
At first sight, I was addressed by Israeli soldiers, policeman, and metal detectors. This form of high security, which was required for all attendees, reminded me of the persecution Jews face everyday. The constant bombing of synagogues around the world weighs heavy on the believers of this religion. They see to it a demanding commitment to consistently attend prayer services. This was no exception, and it was all for their protection. Thankfully, I was accompanied by a friend of mine who attended the temple on a regular basis. This concluded to be a very wise decision, as I was warmly greeted by the congregation at the sight of my companions.
Being accustomed to attending an informal church that allows all forms of attire, I was taken back to see a very conservative aspect of formal wear. The women all wore either lengthy dresses or skirts. All knees and shoulders were carefully refrained from being exposed. Men, although also quite gallant, differed in their attire. They were mandated to wear a Kippah, also known as a Yarmulke, at the crown of their heads. Also required was a Talid, or shaw, to be placed over their shoulders. This was later mentioned that it was designed to protect the connection from the men and God.
The service played out similar to that of a Catholic mass. There were many prayers that were read by different ushers of the church and songs that were sung by the Cantor, lead singer of the church. The Torah, which was held in the arc at the center of the bema (Altar), was taken out for special prayers and ceremonies. One ceremony in particular practiced the act of allowing all members to touch the Torah and kiss it. I for one was not excluded, if anything encouraged, in partaking of this ceremony. All inclusions of the congregation were very equal and showed no signs of discrimination of any kind.
The Torah was the most impacting instrument of the entire service. The portrayal of the sanctity of these symbolic tangible writings was something of impeccable beauty. I was explained that on high holidays, the rabbi honors a certain family by giving the opportunity to open the arc at the first exposure of the Torah. Not to diminish its immaculate physical beauty of velvet and gold threads, the Torah’s spiritual value can be sensed throughout each approach of its exposure. I was gravely touched to see the development of my religion, as well as the origination of the Hebraic language.

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