At the beginning of May we set out on our way to Prague to find out more about Judaism, a religion I have never found that riveting before. Our guide welcomed us and the first part of our educative trip was a presentation. The lecture was much more interesting due to the enthusiasm of our guide as well as her extensive knowledge and natural unobtrusive expression. In terms of the content itself, I would be pleased to share every piece of information with you, however you would read this article probably the whole day, thus I have chosen the ones I found most important and interesting. Our guide divided the presentation to a few parts according to each period of life of Jewish people.
Here are some facts:
• You always gain Jewish origin after your mum. When a boy is born, his religious life begins on the eighth day with a circumcision. During the ceremony he obtains a Hebrew name. Boys are considered to be children until they reach the age of thirteen, girls one year less. At this age they have been already able to take responsibility for their religious achievements.
• Jewish wedding: The bride walks seven times around her groom and then the wedding ceremony can begin. The groom puts a ring on bride’s forefinger and then gives her a drink of wine. At the end of the ceremony a groom breaks a glass goblet which reminds of the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple.
• Jews have the habit of laying down the small stones on the graves instead of flowers and candles. At the graves of the significant personalities some wishes and requests written on the small peace of paper can be also attached.
• The summary of principles related to eating is called “kašrut“ derived from the word “košer“ which means everything, what is appropriate for consuming. In Judaism it is forbidden to mix meat and milk together. From the meat e.g. cattle or mutton is accepted (in general ruminants) and from fish only these with scales can be eaten.
• Ritual cleaness is one of the principles of the pious life and from this reason Jews carry out a ritual bath every week in the spa called “mikve.“
• The most important and well-known Jewish holiday is “Šabat“, the seventh day of the week which is considered as the day of relaxing and is mainly meant to be spent with your family, all together.
After the presentation we went to visit two famous Prague synagogues. The synagogue is a place where the believers gather for prayer, studying and social activities. As the first one we visited The Old New Synagogue and as the second one The Pinkas Synagogue with thousands of the names of the Holocaust victims written on the walls. Then we went to the Old Jewish Cemetery, where Rabi Lӧw, the famous rabbi who constructed Golem, is buried.
I think I can afford to speak for our whole class that we have gained a lot of new experiences broadened our horizons as well as we enjoyed our trip very much.
Article: Eliška Průšová, 3. A
Photos: Tomáš Kabourek, 3. A