3 September 2014, Hale Synagogue visit

Visit to Hale Synagogue by Altrincham Interfaith Group

On the evening of September 3rd, about 80 members of Altrincham Interfaith Group visited the synagogue of the Hale and District Hebrew Congregation in Shay Lane. This beautiful and distinctive building was opened in 2003, replacing an earlier one that was built in 1978, and has striking stained glass windows all around depicting the various festivals and other themes connected with Judaism, as well as a wall built of stone from Jerusalem, a copy of the Western Wall. We were given a warm welcome by past Presidents of the congregation and then Rabbi Portnoy arrived and introduced many of the features of the synagogue including the Torah scrolls (the five books of Moses) housed in the special Ark, and explained aspects of Judaism and the various different types of community – Orthodox, Reform and Liberal. Following his address there were many questions – people were interested in the Tefillin, small boxes containing miniature scrolls that are strapped to the arm and head during prayer, and the rabbi demonstrated their use, as well as the wearing of prayer shawls.  There were questions on aspects of Jewish law in relation to civil matters and the role of the Rabbi as arbitrator in family disputes, as well as deeper issues on Jewish ideas on the nature of God. It was a most interesting and lively session, and then we were invited to partake of refreshments served by the Ladies Guild, a delicious selection of both sweet and savoury foods.  It was wonderful to see representatives of all the various faith communities there and such visits can only help to improve mutual understanding and tolerance between the different faiths in these difficult times.Carolyn Jones ( Secretary AIG)


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