Sunday, September 5, 2010

(NEWS) UK: Synagogues Open Doors To Kent’s Links With Judaism

"Synagogues will welcome in the public as part of a celebration of the Jewish religion and its close connections with Kent.

The county is home to a number of Jewish places of worship including the Old Synagogue in Canterbury, the Reform Synagogue in Ramsgate and the Chatham Memorial Synagogue, all of which will available to explore on Sunday, September 12.

Ramsgate was also home to one of the most famous British Jews of the 19th century, Sir Moses Montefiore one of the great philanthropists of his time.

'It’s a good opportunity for people who haven’t been inside a synagogue before and for them to ask any questions they like,' said Godfrey Fischer, senior warden of Thanet and District Reform Synagogue.

'It’s also a good chance for people to learn about religions that they don’t belong to, which is always beneficial.'

'For example, we are active members of the Thanet Inter-Faith Council, which meets regularly to talk about aspects of different religions to ensure we can all get along.'

'Most people just want to live a peaceful life and believe what they want to believe without other people telling them what is right and wrong.'

Kent has five active Jewish communities beyond the London suburbs, ranging from Orthodox and Independent to Progressive, all of which have resolved to work together on a range of projects designed to enhance Judaism in the county.

The Thanet and District Reform Synagogue is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, and will be hosting an exhibition entitled Art in Judaism as part of the European Day of Jewish Culture and Heritage next Sunday.

Admission is free and refreshments will also be available.

'Jewish people have had a presence in Kent since there have been Jews in this country, so that’s going back a long way,' said Mr Fischer.

'In our part of the world the community has been very closely linked with Montefiore, who was a very English Jew and a great benefactor.'

'He donated the gold links on the Ramsgate town mayor’s chains of office, which are still worn with great pride today. The links are the Hebrew letter for ‘M’.'

The Art in Judaism exhibition takes place at the synagogue in Margate Road, Ramsgate, between 11am-3pm next Sunday.

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