Date visited: February 1, 2013
Sect: Chabad Lubavitch
My site visit took place on the first of February 2013 I had the privilege of attending the candle lighting ceremony of the Judaism religion. To bring in the day called Shabbat ( a sacred day to the Jewish community) at the Chabad Center of Kendall and Pincrest they lit candles, sang songs, and recited words from the Torah that reminded them of the historical story of Shabbat. The Shabbat is the equivalence to the Christian tradition of the Sabbath, where the religious community stops to rest and ponder on the holy one. This establishment is a well-respected and reputable Chabad Lubavitch branch of the Jewish religion. The synagogue, or as they would prefer to call it, a community center, is not only a holy place to worship and rejoice in the lord, but also an educational center that offers a great variety of services and ceremonies for the entire community both Jewish and non-Jewish. It is located in the Kendall area on 87th avenue and 112th street a residential and tranquil area.
Initially I concluded the facilities outreach programs it had established within the community marvelously interesting. When I visited to do the preliminary research about the synagogue I was pleasantly greeted and immediately asked if I needed any sort of assistance. My first thought was; this is odd a religious place asking if I needed help in other areas of my life besides spiritual. I accepted the offer and asked for a quick interview. As the conversation continued I asked about why these programs were put into place, and was given the answer of it being a part of their religion. According to the Chabad branch of Judaism helping the community was part of the Chabad philosophy (understanding, knowledge, and wisdom). To be exact these programs provide help and understanding to those in need. These programs also have satisfied their moral hunger to do right, something I am very familiar with because of my faith in the Catholic Church. I continued to ask “what were some of the programs put in place by this Jewish establishment?” They informed me that there is a Hebrew school to help teach children about their faith, and they have adult education classes that teach everything from the basic knowledge of the Torah, to how these things can be implemented in anybody’s everyday life. This educational facet of the synagogue emphasizes the knowledge and wisdom aspect of the Chabad philosophy. Overall this specific branch of Judaism seems to intertwine old traditions and knowledge with modern day society using tolerance and wisdom; which seems to make it easier for the Jewish community to practice their faith with ease and understanding.
When picking the specific ceremony I wanted to do the site visit for I chose the candle lighting ceremony for Shabbat because it was interesting to me how closely related it seemed to be to the Catholic tradition of Sabbath. Although we do not light candles to indicate the beginning and end of the Sabbath the gesture of lighting candles also has a similar meaning in the Catholic faith dispel darkness and bring light or God into the space or time, so I thought I could relate to the ceremony in a distant way. Specifically the Shabbat means a time for the community to rest from their daily lives and reflect on their faith. Once I arrived at the synagogue I noticed its very simple exterior with no symbols or decorations of the Jewish religion. I came to the conclusion that this was done in order to welcome people of all faiths and show they were a very accepting religious community. I was greeted with intrigue and kindness and directed toward the back of the building where they held the candle lighting ceremony, they reassured me that they were secure in their faith but welcomed to having others join in their ceremonies and were eager to teach anyone willing to listen about their faith. It...