My experience at the Synagogue

On 3rd September 2014, I visited the Hale Synagogue at Shay Lane for the first time in my life. Rabbi Portony explained different aspects of Judaism by answering the questions of the audience.Whenever I think about religion the first thought that comes to my mind is ‘What is religion.? Is it man made or made by God for the mankind.?  Since I heard the discussion for the first time in this meeting my focus was more on ‘ God’ rather than ‘religion’ and when the answer of a question ‘How do you perceive God in Judaism.?’ was explained by Rabbi Portnoy, I felt  very much satisfied because it was similar to my views which I had written in my article on 2nd Dec, 2013 in the News paper ‘Messenger’  The gist of my article is-
‘Where is God.? Has anyone seen God.? Perhaps no… But, most of us must have felt His presence in our heart.  When we exclaim ‘Oh my God !’ or ‘Thank God !, you’ve saved me’, then we remember Him unknowingly.  God is present everywhere but we must have the urge to experience His presence, to bear Him in our heart and soul. We must have the inner urge to seek Him out. We cannot see Him with our eyes and we cannot touch Him with our senses. Even though we know that He is all around us, we do not see Him. He is the controller of the world. He is God. He never dies. He never changes His position. He is the almighty. He knows the past, present and the future. He is omniscient. He can do anything He wishes. He is merciful. God is the embodiment of love and affection.’
Simply understanding that God is great is the principle of all religious scriptures, whether Christian or Jewish or Hindu or Muslim. The common concept of all the religions is that God is very great and the same I realized in this meeting.
Sheel Nigam
(Poet, story & script writer)

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)