WELCOME TO THE TOUR OF THE CARDIFF REFORM SYNAGOGUE. Written and produced by Graham Davies for Cardiff Advisory Service for Education (CASE) Special thanks to the members of the School Visits Team of the Cardiff New Synagogue. Schools Service.
Cardiff Advisory Service for Education (CASE)
Special thanks to
the members of the School Visits Team
of the Cardiff New Synagogue
Welcome to the Cardiff New Synagogue. Our synagogue is part of the Reform Movement which tries to find new ways of making Judaism relevant in today’s world.
To watch a video clip of some of the congregation singing in Hebrew please click here
Look up and you will see the beautiful windows which describe festivals and events in Judaism
These are the stained glass windows. What can you see on them? What festivals do you think they celebrate? Click “next” to see if you are right
Passover Purim Shabbat
Rosh Hashanah Yom Kippur Simchat Torah
At the eastern end of the synagogue is the Holy Ark (Aron Hakodesh). The Ark takes its name from the Ark of the Covenant. It can be a simple cupboard or a part of the building.
This is the curtain of the Holy Ark. It is made of silk and is beautifully embroidered.
What symbols can you see on it?
In a service the Holy Ark is open.The Ark contains the scrolls of the Law (Torah) which are known as the five books of Moses.
On the sabbath they are taken out of the Ark, carried in a procession around the synagogue before being read..
The scrolls are beautifully “dressed”. What can you see on them?
Click here to see the Torah being processed and undressed
The Torah scroll contains the Jewish law. When it is “dressed” it will have the following:
You can see the crown on the top of the Torah and the crown reminds us that God is king.
The Torah is written in Hebrew. Scribes are trained to copy the Torah and use a quill pen and vegetable ink. They must concentrate very hard and not talk when writing. Each scroll takes at least a year to write.
The scroll is written on parchment – animal skin – and the text must have no mistakes. Between 60-80 pieces of parchment are used and sewn together and attached to wooden handles.
Sorry – “In case it disappears in a puff of smoke” is the wrong answer.
When a scroll is being read a pointer or yad is used to point to the words. The scroll is sacred and must not be touched by a human hand.
The yad is usually made of silver and on the end is a sculptured hand with a finger pointing out.
Click here to see the Torah scroll being dressed
How many branches?
When is an eight branched candlestick used?
The Menorah is a seven branched candlestick which reminds Jewish people of what was in the Temple at Jerusalem.
Why is light so important in religions?
Above the Ark is a lamp which is always burning. This is the ner tamid – eternal light.
It reminds Jewish worshippers of the oil lamp which was always alight in the Temple in Jerusalem.
In a corner of the synagogue is this wooden board with lots of names on it. What do you think it is? 1939 is a big clue!
The mezuzah is a small case, made out of metal, wood or plastic, which is nailed to the right hand door post of every door in a Jewish home, except the bathroom. It will also be in the synagogue. Inside is a small parchment scroll on which are written in Hebrew the words of the SHEMA, i.e. Deuteronomy 6:5-9.
Jewish people will often touch the mezuzah as they enter the room and then kiss their fingers. The mezuzah is a symbol of God's blessing, presence and protection.
In this synagogue both men and boys over the age of 13 must wear the tallit. Women and girls wear the tallit if they choose.
Here you can see the tallit(prayer shawl) being worn. It has long fringes and tassels in the four corners. It is worn over the shoulders or the head.
The fringes remind the worshipper of the commandments of God – 613 in all
You can also see the kippah or prayer cap. Jewish men wear them especially at prayer to cover the head to show respect for God
It meets every Sunday morning