Wearing a ball cap while praying in a Baptist church, eating meat during Lent around a Catholic, or sitting in the wrong section of a synagogue, all are faux pas against religious ceremony and tradition. Many religions frown upon the little slip-ups caused by ignorance; however, for some religions, it can be insulting up to being full-on offensive. It becomes imperative to study up before you visit a church or Messianic synagogue near me. When you know what you will be facing, you can feel more comfortable and rest assure that you will not be offending to the congregation you are visiting.
Messianic Synagogue Near Me: Worship
Most churches have pews; some have chairs, some synagogues like in an Orthodox setting have prayer mats. They are set up in a specific fashion, which we will get into in our next section. But before you get that far, there are some things to know when visiting a Messianic synagogue near me.
First, it is important to note that not all Messianic synagogues adhere to strict rules. The devout will most likely be found within the Orthodox Jewish setting. However, out of respect for those who are still between the Orthodox traditions and Messianic Judaism, there are two worth mentioning:
- Yarmulke – You have seen these on television, movies, and maybe even walking down the street. It is a traditional head covering that Jewish men wear. Some wear it all the time; some wear it only while praying in a synagogue. There is debate as to whether it is a command or a tradition, either way, both ends of the spectrum generally suggest a head dressing to be worn while praying, I have seen it worn by mostly every Jewish man at the Messianic synagogue near me. Most synagogues do have extra should a visitor be without one.
- Women in Worship – This applies greatly to Orthodox Judaism. Hebrew traditions separate men and women. They have different sections of the synagogue where they worship. More modern sects, like the Messianic synagogue near me, allow women to worship alongside men, however much like the yarmulke, it can vary by the synagogue.
The Setup of the Messianic Synagogue
You may not be aware, but most Messianic synagogues are set up in a specific manner. This outline is specified in the Torah, and the ancient Jews were required, each time the tabernacle was assembled, to arrange it in a worthy manner.
- Structure – One of the main requirements was for the main wall of the synagogue to face toward Jerusalem. This would be the direction that parishioners would face while in the act of prayer.
- Aron Kodesh – This item represents an Old Testament item; The Ark of the Covenant. It was the casing that carried the Ten Commandments, the loaf of manna, and Aaron’s staff that budded. Within the Judaism religion, it is a prayer cabinet that houses the synagogue’s Torah scroll. The cabinet traditionally faces the wall that is toward Jerusalem, in front of the congregation. The Torah is kept inside within the cabinet doors, behind a curtain. It symbolizes the temple and the curtain to the Holy of Holies.
- Other Items – Other items of significance in a Messianic synagogue near me are the Eternal Lamp, and a pedestal called the bimah. This is where the Torah lays when it is being read. Finally, with Traditional Judaism, women worship separately from the men, usually separated by a curtain called a mechitzah.
Most Orthodox Jews are steadfast in commitment to the traditions laid out in the Torah. These items are sacred and honored with the respect due to the L-rd. Messianic Jews still honor many of these items and symbols to enable them to relate to their Judaism roots; just as their acceptance of the Gospel message enables them to relate to Christianity.
A Jewish Voice for the Messianic Synagogue Near Me
Jewish, Messianic Jewish, or Non-Jewish, we are all waiting for the appearance of the Messiah. Some are waiting for his initial appearance; many are waiting for his return. The Jewish Voice is a ministry that reaches out to Messianic Jews as well as available for Traditional Jews with questions about the authenticity of Yeshua as the Jewish Messiah.