RE Trip to Exeter
RE Trip to the Mosque and Synagogue in Exeter
As part of their cultural studies and RE, the Key Stage 2 children from across the Federation visited the synagogue and mosque in Exeter. At the synagogue, they saw many of the features they had learned about in their RE lessons in the classroom in the previous term, such as the Torah scrolls in the Ark, the bimah (the platform in the centre of the synagogue from which services are conducted) and the Ner Tamid (the eternal light that symbolizes the presence of God in this holy place.) Sitting separately, as Jewish adults will do in their services, the boys and girls learned something of the different roles of men and women in the practices of the synagogue. Their host, a member of the synagogue, explained what happens when a Jewish boy or girl becomes an adult and played a recording of his own son reading a portion of the Torah at his Bar Mitzvah ceremony. He then led the children through a re-enactment of a Jewish wedding, explaining the roles and rituals and comparing these to those within Christianity or other faiths, before answering any outstanding questions. Throughout the morning, the children were encouraged to notice similarities and differences between Judasim, Islam and Christianity.
Later on the same day, the children visited the Islamic centre in Exeter, where they were privileged to be allowed to observe the midday prayers. The imam then took the children around the mosque, showing them the separate areas where men and women would prepare for prayer, the places where they would perform ritual washing (wudu) before prayer and the prayer halls where they regularly pray together. He explained the importance of the five pillars of the Muslim faith to the children and answered their questions about what they had seen, learned and observed.