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Places of worship in Leeds

Year 8 visited a diverse range of religious places of worship in Leeds as part of their Religious Studies curriculum this November.

The trip included visits to the United Hebrew Congregation, an Orthodox Synagogue, and All Hallows Church, an Anglican church. The girls had an in-depth look at Judaism and Catholicism, two of the most well-known religions in the UK, and the positive influence of diversity on the city.

The United Hebrew Congregation is a combination of a number of older shuls (synagogues) dating back to the middle of the nineteenth century, which came together on the same site in 1986. It provides a community for its Jewish members and offers pastoral, advisory and counselling facilities, in addition to hosting educational and social events.

The girls visited to learn how Jewish people worship and why men and women sit separately, and to look at the Torah scrolls - they were very fortunate to see the scroll ceremoniously being removed and paraded around the synagogue by a man wearing a tallit, a traditional prayer shawl. They were also allowed to have a close look at the scrolls and handle the silver bells and breastplate used to dress them.

All Hallows Church is a Church of England with a community garden and a Junk Food Cafe called Rainbow Junktion. As part of The Real Junk Food Project network, it rescues food that would otherwise be go to landfill and feeds people living in poverty. People who can’t pay for the food can help to wash up or prepare the meal as payment instead.

The girls had the chance to try their delicious apple crumble and cake, prepared by volunteers. The vicar of the church, Reverend Heston Groenewald, showed the class round the building and shared some Christian beliefs and aspects of the religious celebrations he leads, including Holy Communions and baptisms. Angela, a priest, explained how she became a priest, and allowed the girls to try on some of the vestments a priest wears.

Everyone had a very enjoyable day, leaving with a better understanding of the different faiths and the people who practice them.

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