Being able to immerse one’s self in the traditions of a different religion is a rare experience to come by, however, this was exactly what the Year 11 students of Mrs Melki’s Studies of Religion II class did on Friday the 1st of April. In order to help the students' gain a complete understanding of their topic of Judaism, Mrs Melki decided to conduct a ‘Shabbat’ lesson. This lesson allowed the students to participate in a key ritual within the Jewish religion.
‘Shabbat’ is the Jewish Sabbath day and represents the day God ceased creating the world. ‘Shabbat’, which occurs between Friday evening and Saturday evening, is a day of rest where Jewish adherents abstain from work to study the Torah and focus completely on God’s teachings. On this day, a ‘Shabbat’ meal ritual was also performed, which was emulated by the Year 11 students.
During Period 5, the students all sat at a large table with a white tablecloth, two candles, challah (sweet Sabbath bread), and wine (represented by cranberry juice) the items significant to the ‘Shabbat’ meal ritual. The ritual began with Mrs Melki lighting the two candles, which represent God’s presence and the dual commandments to remember and observe Shabbat. Members of the class then said Hebrew prayers, such as the Kiddush. The breaking of the challah and distribution of the wine then followed and students then began eating the light meal, which was enjoyed by many.
This ‘Shabbat’ experience was significant in immersing the students in Jewish religious practice, in turn, deepening their understanding of the topic of Judaism and assisting them with their upcoming assignment.