Hundreds of Hertfordshire schoolchildren are learning about the Jewish way of life this week following the launch of the Jewish Living Experience Exhibition at St Albans Cathedral.
Visitors will gain an insight into the basics of the festivals, as well as Shabbat (the Jewish Sabbath) the principles of kosher food and how Jewish children undertake Bar and Bat Mitzvah coming-of-age ceremonies.
The exhibition, run by the Board of Deputies of British Jews, was launched on Wednesday and is being hosted by St Albans Cathedral in association with St Albans Masorti Synagogue. It has already been seen by thousands of people every year in schools, colleges, public buildings and synagogues and has been displayed around the country from Exeter to Carslisle.
The exhibition comprises a dozen stands with clear informative images and information, as well as Judaism practice role-playing items, including a Shabbat table, Purim festival dressing up clothes, examples of kosher foods and engaging puzzles, and are designed to meet the new requirements of the new Religious Education Judaism syllabus.
More than 300 Hertfordshire schoolchildren and their teachers will be attending, in addition to 30 professional RE educators .Over 20 Jewish volunteer guides will be on hand to ‘walk and talk’ the groups around the exhibition, which will also be open to members of the public visiting the Cathedral.
Guests at the launch included Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire Robert Voss; Mayor of St Albans Rosemary Farmer and Canon Chancellor Kevin Walton.
Vice President of the Board of Deputies Edwin Shuker, who introduced the exhibition, said: “This important educational interfaith initiative provides an introduction to Jewish life and customs as they are practised in Britain today. Living in such a diverse country as the UK, it is important for people to understand and respect each other’s traditions. Understanding each other’s traditions and symbols of faith will inevitably enhance community cohesion.”
He added: “We are grateful to Haim Ben-Zion and his colleagues at St Albans Masorti Synagogue for their wonderful efforts, without which we would not have been able to stage this exhibition. Thanks also to our Education Development Manager Sara Perlmutter for her dedication to the exhibition.”
The award winning SAMS ‘Roots’ exhibition illustrating family histories of members of the St Albans Masorti Jewish Community is also on show at the exhibition which has been facilitated by the Cathedral Education Centre, Board of Deputies and St Albans Masorti Synagogue (SAMS).
Photo: Board of Deputies Vice President Edwin Shuker introduces the Jewish Living Exhibition. Also pictured, Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire Robert Voss. Photographer Gary Perlmutter