Q&A – Jewish Faith

Pupils at the school were visited by Mitzi Kalinsky, who was representing the Judaism faith for our PSHE lesson. Mitzi is a member of the Sukkat Shalom Reformist Synagogue in Wanstead. Year 7 and Year 8 took part in a joint question and answer session.

Mitzi spoke about the Sabbath, a special day in the week, which starts on Friday evening and finishes Saturday evening. On the Sabbath, persons of the Jewish faith conform to very strict laws. For example, people do not work, do not drive, do not draw or write. It is the Holy Day of Rest. Mitzi brought with her to school some Challah bread, a special bread that is traditionally eaten on the Sabbath.

Mitzi informed pupils that Kosher is ‘satisfying the requirements of Jewish law’. Kosher meat includes any animal that has cloven hooves and chews its cud, as well as fowl. The animal must be slaughtered in accordance with prescribed Jewish ritual explain that this ritual is very similar to Islamic Laws.

Mitzi also bought into school a special Holy Prayer Book that she uses specifically for funerals, she also wore a Star of David that represents the Jewish faith. The Holy Prayer Book is written in Hebrew, a script that reads from right to left. She showed pupils The Star of David, which is displayed on the flag of Israel, the Holy Land for Jews and other faiths.

One pupil asked ‘Why do some Jewish people wear black clothing and have long hair on their side burns?’ Mitzi explained that before World War II, the largest population of Jews was in Poland. The black clothing was traditional clothing from a period dating back to the 17th Century and many Orthodox Jews believe this dress should still be observed. The hair is not cut, as commanded in the book of Leviticus.

This talk followed on from an earlier visit to the school from members of the Christian faith, it helped our pupils have a better understanding of Judaism. Pupils showed a lot maturity and respect during Mitzi’s presentation, which they all found very interesting.