Tefila is the Hebrew word for prayer; the verb le’hitpallel is reflexive, suggesting an opportunity for inward refection as well as a chance to join voices as a community to praise, give thanks, ask for forgiveness, peace, healing, wisdom and sustenance.
Our school year always begins with the powerful sound of the shofar, the rams’ horn which is blown to herald a New Year and new beginnings. In doing this we acknowledge the place of worship as a central focus of our community.
Our daily act of collective worship is unique and mirrors the eclectic nature of our cohort within our Jewish school community. The tefila thought for the day is always relevant and meaningful. Inspired by a broad spectrum of Jewish texts and thinkers, the presentations link to special times in the Jewish, British and wider faith calendar, capture key themes relating to contemporary society and respond to major world events as they happen. Students are encouraged to discuss these ideas and themes with their form tutor and presentations often lead up to school- wide acts of charity or kindness to others.
Shema Koleinu is a central part of the liturgy for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kipuur, the High Holy Days and means ‘Hear Our Voice’. We put this concept into action by encouraging students and colleagues are to add their voices to our tefila thoughts (as well as assemblies and school social media) either through the written word or film and audio contributions; these are always powerful and add resonance and re-inforcement to our vision of inclusion and engagement for all. These may link to Black History month, LGBT week, Mental Health Awareness, or themes such as identity connected to the Jewish festival of Chanukah.
Regular assemblies complement the tefila thoughts and take place leading up to all special days in the Jewish and British calendar.
We are so proud of our weekly shacharit (morning) service, held in our beautiful synagogue. Students in years 8-13 choose to attend and put on tefillin if they are over the age of bar mitzvah. It is a truly special experience, enhanced by the leadership of Rabbi Aryeh Sufrin MBE, who inspires our students every week.
We also have a quiet room for those of other faiths who wish to spend time in prayer or reflection.
We are hopeful that our popular weekly lunch and learn sessions will be able to resume this coming academic year. These complement our shacharit services and are facilitated by Rabbi Goodwin of Chigwell United Synagogue he leads engaging informal discussions on the weekly Torah reading or on a contemporary theme of interest, enhanced in no small part by a pizza lunch.
Worship in a broader sense is bringing faith values and a belief in G-d into all areas of daily life. We ‘live’ this idea through our emphasis on tzedakah (charity) and chessed (acts of kindness), both integral to our community; also through encouraging ethical behaviour and respect towards one another.