Synagogue Visit!

Tonight I visited a synagogue for the first time in my life. Coming from a “Church of England” background it was a very unique experience I won’t forget anytime soon.

Initially I planned to go with my partner, for moral support. But I emailed the congregation the wrong dates and my partner couldn’t make it. So I thought, you know what? What the heck! Just go and do it. The entire week leading up to this night I was battling my nerves. Especially me riding up on motorcycle to Exeter tonight. The fear kept telling my brain “Don’t do it, turn back, they will judge you.” But I inhaled, exhaled and went on.

I parked my motorcycle right next to the Schul. The building was positioned down an alleyway I had passed thousands of times but never actually noticed. Even the street was named “Synagogue”! How I had not noticed that before baffled me. I went up to the doors. I rung the bell a few times. Knocked the doors. No one in. I was about 30 minutes early. So a little bit eager.

Just moments after I was greeted by a great big man and another gentleman just behind him. I told them that I think I was a bit early and apologised.

We all went inside, I warmed up my hands from the cold bike ride up from Torquay. It was only about 20 miles but it takes its toll on your hands.

I spoke a little while about my interest in religions in general and Judaism. The man switched on the survelliance cameras which had me a little worried and also sympathetic. There were at least six different cameras set up to catch every view of the street. I could now see and prepare myself for more socialising as more and more people turned up to the door. I noticed bits of Hebrew up on the wall, old holocaust pictures, stars of David, it was very enlightening seeing it in person particularly meeting Jewish people in person also. As I chatted to Reese, we agreed that seeing things on the internet and experiencing them in real life are very different indeed.

I was then offered a prayer book and a Kippah to wear on my head. We all sat down to the back of the synagogue where the heating was most active. The inside was stunning. The place dated back from 1763.

The candles were then lit, a prayer was said, and we all sat back down.

We then started flipping through the book and reading. I was not speaking aloud as I was trying to observe what was going on around me, and what this strange language I was hearing meant. (Luckily they all had english text right next to the hebrew text, and also romanised characters of hebrew).

First off when everyone started singing in Hebrew I found it hard to settle in and let loose. There were some good voices and some bad and I found that distracting. But I really let myself go and learnt to just listen indiscriminately and really enjoyed the melodies and the sound of Hebrew. It was a very rough, but a very satisfying kind of language. Some parts were spoken in Hebrew and some in English. People around me were bowing as we reached the meditative parts of prayer and turning towards specific parts of the building, which at points I believed was facing towards Israel, Jerusalem. which I thought was respectful and also very mindful.

As the service came to an end, we all shook hands saying the phrase: “shabbat shalom!”

I then left the building, putting my biker gear on and reflecting on what I had just been through. Absorbing the melodies and thinking of the prayers.

It was a great religious experience and I recommend it to anyone interested in understanding and respecting other religions! Particularly in overcoming nerves and going out there and doing something for yourself!

And so the adventure still continues~

Looking Inside

The desert sands

I wander through

With just my body

I hold onto

No water, no food, no air

No reasons, I let go

Inside I went

To caverns old and long ago explored

To be another that brings a torch

To light up what we forgot

Nature to Machine

Sweet night

Comforting fog that looms

The church bells ring

Echoing, rolling through

These great green hills

The animals lie asleep

Attuned to mans rythmn

The path I walk

Is lit by silver moonlight

Songs played

From the violins of crickets

Soon my path will end

I will find myself

In a new kind of light

Dearest Ewa

And I write of you

In full feeling

Full respect of love and history

That your memory stays in mind

While I move on forward

Maybe the roads are unforgiving

That I may trip and lose my way

But even so

Worse would I be

If I didn’t take them at all

I hope in the deepest ocean of your heart

You forgive me and understand

That the human condition

Wasn’t a disease I meant to have contracted

I signed a deal I wasn’t aware of

When I came here to breathe my first lungful of air

That I didn’t mean to hurt you

That you will always possess

A chunk of my heart

Meadfoot Beach

I sit here tonight

By the pouring rain

My engine’s still purring gently

Its light playing with the dark

While I look out from Meadfoot beach

To the great black sea before me

Painted white specks dance over the waves

The moon is on the stage with her starry audience

While I sit here on the edge

Waiting for shooting stars to come by

To make just one more wish

 

 

Grains of Sand

The sea laps around

Melting the rock I sit on

Watching the horizon

Greedily swallow up the sun

The sand forms outlines of stories below

Each grain a life on earth

This one’s from the shores of Peru

Picked up by a tribesmen

Wondering what to do

And where to go

The land is barren

And his heart too

This one, the shores of Hokkaido

Picked up by a farming man

Who resided in the state of Japan

He picked up the sand

And wondered about the future

Of his plot of land

His family

Melting to the sand

Those grains of sand

picked up by my own hand

I let fall to the sea

From my palm

Where the sand returns

To now known lands