By Sara Perlmutter
More than 700 students plus 100 teachers and parents from Suffolk had a taste of the Jewish way of life when the Jewish Living Experience exhibition came to Ipswich in October.
The travelling exhibition, which includes information on core Jewish values, festivals, the synagogue, Jewish dietary laws, life-cycle events and much more, was staged at Endeavour House, the headquarters of Suffolk County Council.
The children, who ranged in age from 5 to 16 years, all reacted positively to the exhibition which is designed to tie in with the key stage 3 Judaism syllabus. Some had been introduced to Judaism before their visit, and others had follow-up classes arranged. The children enjoyed tasting Jewish breads including challah – the plaited loaf eaten on the Sabbath – and matzah crackers, which are an intrinsic part of the festival of Passover. They also had the opportunity to blow the shofar – a ram’s horn trumpet which is blown at services on the Jewish New Year.
The feedback was overwhelmingly positive and teachers reported that the exhibition would enhance their teaching of Judaism.
Board of Deputies Vice President Sheila Gewolb said: “In today’s troubled climate, it is even more important to educate all children about the different faiths and rich cultural heritage we have here in the UK.
The Jewish Living Experience exhibition allows non-Jewish schoolchildren to learn about our religious beliefs, practices and culture. It is only through education that we can challenge the myths and misconceptions that can lead to misunderstanding and fear of ‘the other’ that can lead to anti-Semitism and race hate.”
The Jewish Living Experience is generally held for 2-4 weeks in each area and several sessions are available to book during the day, with each session being able to accommodate approximately 30 pupils.
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Sara Perlmutter is the Board’s Education Policy and Projects Manager