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Garrett Smith
Professor Sinclair
LBST 2101
March 13, 2016

If most people are anything like me, they havent spent very much time listening
to people of a different belief system talk about their faith. All my life, I grew up hearing
the Christian gospel and spent plenty of time inside churches. Friday, March 11, I
stepped out of my usual norms and visited a Jewish synagogue called Temple Emanuel
at 201 Oakwood Drive, Winston-Salem, NC 27103.
My mom came with me because she thought it would be a unique experience and
didnt want to miss out! When we first entered the building, we were greeted by the
Temple Administrator, Cynthia Silber. I had emailed Cynthia prior to visiting the
synagogue and she had been the one to tell me the best time to attend. Cynthia handed
us some papers with information about the service for the evening, as well as relevant
recent news regarding Temple Emanuel. My mom and I found some seats closer to the
back of the room so that we could watch what other people did and follow along better.
The service started around 7:30PM. They began by welcoming everyone and leading us
in some songs from the prayer books. They all sang songs in the Hebrew language while
I just read the English translations, silently, along with them. During some of the songs,
everyone rose to their feet. At certain points, we turned to face the door. I later found
out that this was when we were welcoming in the Sabbath. After a few songs, the
speaker for the evening said a few words in remembrance of those who had died within

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the past year. They sang a song after that as well. Then the speaker called up two men
to help him take out the Torah scrolls. The colorful picture of a tree on the back wall
opened up to reveal the scrolls. One of the men grabbed one and carried it around the
room for everyone to get a chance to touch their prayer book to it. I am not quite sure
the reason for doing this, but it seemed to be a way to show respect or reverence for the
scrolls. The speaker then unrolled one and read some passages from the ending of
Exodus. The adults in the room seemed to listen intently, while some teenage girls near
the back were whispering and giggling a lot. There was one cute little boy who was
running around and playing in the pews. Temple Emanuel is reformed so they were
fairly relaxed about such things going on. Later, Cynthia informed me that Orthodox
synagogues are much stricter.
After the service ended, they invited us to stay for their Oneg. I met a few of the
people there, who were all very warm to speak to. We grabbed some desserts and a glass
of lemonade and sat down at Cynthias table to ask her some questions. We learned
about the interesting meanings of the different window art all around the room. We also
learned about the Czech Torah that they had on display where you first walk into the
building. It was apparently recovered around the time of the Holocaust. All in all, we
hung around after the service for around 50 minutes of just talking and learning.
I really enjoyed my experience at the synagogue. Seeing all of those people show
their passion for their beliefs was really inspiring. My visit reminded me of what we
talked about in class regarding the pursuit of happiness. The people in that temple all
clearly sought happiness through their worship. Their songs spoke of God as the source
of all of their joy. They also mentioned a food drive that they hosted. This paralleled the
section in The Happiness Hypothesis that talked about how charity influenced the way

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people felt. Everyone in there appeared to find a lot of great meaning in their worship
and belief, which was really a beautiful thing to get to be a part of.

(Look at pages 4 and 5 for pictures)

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The Czech Torah, recovered around the time of the Holocaust

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My thank-you note to Cynthia Silber