I attended a Jewish service on Friday, in Akron, Ohio. The name of the temple was Temple Israel and was located on Merriman Road. The service started at 7:30 p.m. I went by myself, and when I was walking in I could tell people were kind of questioning who I was, and what brought me here, everyone was very nice though and thought it was fantastic that I was visiting their temple. It seemed like everyone kind of caught up in the lobby before they actually went into the temple, reading events that were going on and it looked like there was a table where you could make donations to the conjuration.
The place was decorated very nicely, with stained glass, marble flooring and fresh flowers, they had two different pieces of art work that was utilized to show case the people who have made donations to their Temple, one was a large tree of life that took up a wall of two levels, and the other was a mosaic art that was in-between the two doors of the chapels. I found out the mosaic was there because they ran out of room on the tree of life so they had to think of another place to showcase the people who donated, both were beautifully done. There was a few other rooms that I didn’t get to see because I ran out of time. They had a showcase full of tools and items that they use in their practice like pointers to read the scroll, wine glasses, plates, menorahs, jewelry, and other Jewish artifacts. The chapel that service was held in that night was the smaller one they told me, and they have a much more elaborate chapel for larger services. When I first walked in they handed me a pamphlet and a book, I first sat down by myself but then an older couple insisted that I sat next to them, so I did. They were really nice and thought it was great that I was visiting as well, then they felt the need to introduce me to everyone. The service started with a song in Hebrew, and it was a slow tempo song, everyone sang along in Hebrew, I did my best to follow along reading in English. They moved into a more of an upbeat song after that one, the Rabi seemed to enjoy it a bit more and people were clapping along. There was standing up and sitting down between songs, kind of like Catholics but not near as much, and no kneeling. While sitting they took the time for silent prayers, prayers for the sick or someone that just needed help. The couple that I sat next to, got up to go up front for the scroll reading, which is all hand written in Hebrew, after the service they got the scroll back out for me to personally show it, they had to be careful when opening it because every time it opens, it progresses further into the reading. Another thing they taught me is that each scroll is hand written, and their are no vowels, the only way you can tell how a word is supposed to be pronounced is basically just knowledge. A pointer is used to keep place while reading, so the oils of your hands do not damage the paper, because it was all hand written, it makes it even more valuable. The prayer book that is given out to everyone there illustrates what letters are nouns, but the scroll does not, that makes it even more difficult to read. After the scroll reading, they blessed the death’s of people who have passed from their temple along with any other prayers that you could say aloud. Once this happened the head of the temple spoke, brought up events that would be taking place, fundraising, and he also made an announcement of their new temple being built in the Montrose area, behind Barnes and Nobles. After he spoke they went on to talk about passover and the Nazi’s and gave a story about a Jew in a concentration camp on passover and the hard ships they went through. There was a point when the heads of the temple I guess you could say, came down from where they were preaching at, to shake everyones hand and let them touch the…