Revelations at a Synagogue
When Columbia Adventist Academy (CAA) Junior Class members pulled into the parking lot of the Synagogue Nevah Shalom, an impressive building loomed before them, as anticipation hung in the air.
Dave Allen, CAA Bible teacher, led the group into the synagogue, where boys were told to place caps, or keepahs, on their heads. A Jewish leader then explained the beliefs and customs of the Jewish faith.
Allen annually takes his junior Bible class to a Jewish synagogue, in connection with the study of the book of Romans. “It helps them to understand Paul’s audience in Rome during the first century. When the students see the emphasis on the law, and how it is central to the Jewish worship service, they better understand why Paul made statements about the law like he does in Romans 7:4,” says Allen.
Inside the synagogue, the guide opened the Ark, which holds the Torahs—the first five books of Moses, on hand-written scrolls.
He removed one of several large scrolls from the Ark and carefully laid it on the podium, explaining that the Torahs cost about $40,000 each.
The students then entered a smaller sanctuary, also containing Torah scrolls, used for daily services. Here, their guide sang a Jewish hymn and answered many questions the students asked about Jewish beliefs and practices.
After thanking the guide for his insightful, two-and-a-half hour presentation, the students returned to campus and reflected on their experience.
“Going to the Shalom was a lot of fun. It was really interesting and refreshing to learn what another’s religion is like and the activities involved. I really noticed how dedicated they were to their traditions, and I appreciated their faith. It really opened my eyes to the great diversity between an Adventist and a Jew. But I am glad that we both love God with all our heart,” said Dana Joy Kenison.
The students learned that though different faiths have diverse views, all are united in their love for God and His love for mankind.