Categories for Experience

My Jewish Experience Essay

My Jewish Experience Essay

In a first glance, Hawaii seems to be a country that strictly holds its cultural values and identity with pride, leaving no room for foreign beliefs and practices to grow. However, my first impression has been proven wrong as for the first time, I set foot on the halls of Temple Emanu-el, a Jewish synagogue situated in 2550 Pali Highway, Honolulu, Hawaii, 96817. On a Friday evening, 28 November 2008, half an hour past seven, I was exposed to the practices and beliefs of Orthodox Judaism through Rabbi Peter B.

Schaktman ..

It was a moment of mixed emotions for me since I only knew Judaism through books, television, films, and internet, and that I thought I would have been overwhelmed by the spectacle of one of the world’s major religious systems However, I was initially surprised by the size of the synagogue as it was totally different from how I had imagined it to be; the place was relatively small, perhaps because Judaism is not Hawaii’s main religion, nevertheless, the size of the place was just different from what I always thought.

Judging by the size of the place, I would say that 300~350 people could seat accommodated in the synagogue. The structure’s ceiling was high, and the interior designs made me recall the facades of the Roman Catholic Church. The synagogue also contains what the pastor called an Ark, the ark is a decorated cabinet wherein the Torah of the synagogue is housed And like other places of worship, I also noticed that Temple Emanu-el also has a pulpit in an elevated platform where the torah and other scriptures are read.

Judaism is a religion that promotes Jewish identity and culture, I seemed to have noticed that there is not much art in the in the Ark of Temple Emanu-el. The most probable reason is that the Jewish consider that part of the synagogue as the holiest area. Apart from the decorative curtain that serves as the cover for the Ark, the only objects to be seen in the synagogue are object of religious significance such as the ark and a candle stand.

The only non-religious object close enough to be considered art were a couple of flowers in vases positioned near the ark. During the worship service proper, the only clergy member present in the synagogue was Rabbi Schaktman. I have no idea as to why he was the only clergyman present during the time, but during the worship services, he was accompanied by a Cantorial Soloist named Ken Aronowitz who sang the songs and hymns. Although religious hymns and songs are not to be appreciated as an artistic effort, I can say that Mr.

Aronowitz’s voice is captivating enlightening. While I was participating in the worship services, I have observed that the devotees have the book named Gates of Prayer. I realized that people from the sect consider the book as a guide to the service and to spiritual enlightenment. From my experience that night, it appears that in every service, the Rabbi discusses and interprets every chapter of the book with the devotees. Based on my observation, the book contains the words of God as well as the hymns of praise to God.

Continuing further with the practices and rituals, I noticed that a particular differences between Judaism and Christianity, first is on the discussion of the contents of Gates of Prayer. During the service, Rabbi Schaktman read and discussed the distinction of Jews from non-Jews through analysis of the words non-Jews celebrate : Jews Observe. The Rabbi interpreted the exact contents of the book, however, he just used a language that everyone could simply understand.

There are certain moments where the Rabbi told us a story based on his experiences and related the story with the topic discussed during that night. And the story the Rabbi used was an article from the newspaper Honolulu Advertiser which revolved around the celebration of thanksgiving. The Rabbi said something about Jewish attitude for Thanksgiving, and in doing so, he implied that as a Jew, celebrating Thanksgiving is violating the Law of Moses and that conforming to tradition not set by God and his prophets Christmas should be eliminated.

Another distinction I have observed in the Jewish worship service was the hymn or the songs of praise. In practicing Christianity, I had to separately bring the bible and a book which contains more than 700 songs. In Temple Emanu-el, the words from God (which is taken from the scriptures) and songs were compiled in the Gates of Prayer, and most of the songs of praise appear to be sung in the Hebrew language. In addition, the songs of praise come in between the Rabbi’s preaching. After he finished a paragraph in the book, people sing.

Although I couldn’t understand the language of the hymn, the songs definitely got through me in such a way that the tunes of the songs remain in my head. If I had recorder, I really wanted to record the songs but, our instructor advised that it is a rude gesture to bring a recording device and record activities of people we are not familiar with. Another fascinating ritual is the Jewish commemoration of the dead. The walls on both sides of the Temple Emanu-el lists names of more than 500 people on wood surrounding the synagogue and right beside the names were light bulbs with a few turned on..

At first I thought it was some sort of decorative art to make the temple attractive, but I asked to Rabbi after the service, and he said that the names with the light bulbs turned on were the dead people who worshipped in the temple and died during that week or that month. The Rabbi also said that it was the Temple’s way of cherishing the memory of their deceased brothers and sisters. Although the temple’s ritual of honoring the deceased was relatively new to me, it produced a deep impression on me. This is because I only knew of commemorating rituals in the traditions of Christianity.

And I personally thought that the Christian practices of preserving the memory of the dead accorded with the other religious systems. Another ritual I saw during my visit at the Temple Emanu-el was the Jewish tradition on marriage. That night, an engaged couple came to the temple with their families, the Rabbi gave them blessing of Lynne Chun and Harvey Reackmil on the occasion of their upcoming marriage, and after the Rabbi granted the blessing, everyone started to say “mazltof! ” I guess that it is their way of saying congratulations to the newly blessed couple.

. After the speech of service, Rabbi Schaktman slowly came to our side and tried to make eye contact with each of us. I initially thought that I needed to pay for the collection just like in the Christian church that I used go to. But from the way he looked at us, I felt like he is trying to give us a chance to realize our sins for the past week and prompt us not to make the same mistakes again. Following the ending ceremony of the service, I came to a realization that the Jewish religion is not as promising as it claims itself to be.

As far as I respect some of the Jewish beliefs, customs, traditions, and practices, I honestly find Judaism’s norms uncomfortable. One is that the doctrines are so individualistic and very prejudiced as the Rabbi discussed the evils of not being Jewish and how the Jewish way turns out as the right path in life. Also the Rabbi gave us an impression that I and the rest of the class who went there were not welcome in their temple or in their community. Maybe I was just being too sensitive in this matter, but when I tried to talk to the Rabbi, he did not pay any attention to what I was saying or to the questions I were asking.

The experience was alienating, although the Rabbi constantly told us to comeback anytime, we felt it was just a gesture with no thought to it. As my disbelief and mistrust in God or any divine being, I find myself unmoved by the beliefs and practices of Judaism. Neither did its changed my skepticism of God As such, visiting the temple and participating in Jewish worship services did not affect my beliefs, ideas, and my own perception of the experience as well as the religion itself.

However, it does not necessarily mean that I do not respect Judaism and all of its followers, as a matter of fact; despite the unwelcome treatment we received from the Rabbi, my utmost respect for Judaism and for its believers remain firm. Like other major religions in the world, my visit in Temple Emanu-el has proven that Judaism, as manifested by their doctrines and songs of praise, is a religion rich in tradition, culture, and ways to establish identity. But religion is not about continuation of tradition or establishment of identity, but it is more of professing and expressing personal beliefs regardless of what such beliefs hold.

Experience Essay

Experience Essay

I personally believe that a person’s field of experience plays a very pivotal role in defining who that person is. With that in mind, there are definitely countless experiences and accomplishments that made me who I am. It is said that a person’s field of experience is the sum of all experiences that have ever happened to that person since birth. As such, the things that make me who I am are the people I meet, the things I am exposed to every day, and the things that I do.

In my life, I continuously meet new people. These people help form me.

Whenever I meet someone, especially if I get to know them well enough, that person leaves his or her mark on me. Friends, family, and strangers have all contributed to my edification. The kindness I see in some of them make me realize that if you are nice to people, they will, more often than not, reciprocate your kindness.

Likewise, the blind idealism I’ve seen in some of them made me understand that the world is not a place full of sunshine and rainbows. I once had a friend who was going through a very difficult time in his life. I saw him suffer at the hands of typhoon Ondoy.

The next time I saw him, he was practically homeless. His grades plummeted and he told me he kept seeing flashes of the flood happening again and again. I assumed there was no hope for him. I thought he was falling in a downward spiral. That taught me life isn’t always fair. Sometimes we go through hardships that we have done nothing to deserve, but, as the days went by, I saw that same person get back on his feet, beat the odds, and persevere despite what he went through. This taught me that, no matter what happens, we must remember that God will always be with us, and His grace abounds.

The things I am exposed to every day can be anything from what I read, what I see on a billboard, or even what I smell on the way to the cafeteria. These things help me stimulate my thoughts and reach certain realizations that help in my formation. For example, when I was at Lake Tahoe, I remember seeing a snowflake fall on my hand. When I was staring at my garden at home, I saw a petal from a flower fall down to the floor. Those things didn’t mean anything to me then, but just recently, I understood that they can mean so much more.

Something as beautiful as a snowflake or flower petal falling only lasts so long. The snowflake melts, and the petal withers and dies. It made me realize that the best things in life are simply the fleeting moments that come and go in a blink of an eye. That only means we need to enjoy the falling of the snowflake or the petal even more, and we can always wait for the next one to fall. My actions have caused me both great joy and deep sorrow. There are things I regret doing and there are opportunities I have missed.

Despite it all, I still say the both the things I have done, and things I could have but didn’t do all contributed to my current self. If even one decision I’ve ever made or action I’ve ever done, no matter how seemingly insignificant, was changed, I probably wouldn’t be who I am today. If I decided not to go with my grandmother to the hospital; if didn’t suggest that she go take the helpers home and leave me there; even if I decided to stop by 7-Eleven on my way up the stairs to buy a Coke, I wouldn’t have been the only one there to see my great-aunt die.

If I didn’t experience that, I would definitely be different. How I would have turned out, I do not know. All I know is whatever I do or don’t do contributes to my field of experience. Our fields of experience make us who we are. Everything that we’ve ever been through makes us who we are. Everything we see, everything we feel, every person we meet, and everything that we do help define us. As our life goes on, we continuously change. Minds broaden or narrow. Skills may sharpen or dull. Ideas may spark to life or wither and die. It is up to us whether these changes are for the better or for the worse.

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Innocence and Experience Essay

Innocence and Experience Essay

In Encarta Dictionary the meanings of the word ‘innocence’ are absence of being guilty of crime or offence, freedom from sin, lack of worldly experience The meanings of ‘experience’ are knowledge and skills and the sum total of things that have happened to a person and of his or her past thoughts and feelings. This essay states that innocence and experience are two states of human being. At some point of time, the child in us makes the journey from innocence to experience.

We lose innocence by gaining experience through knowledge and real life incidents.

The experience we gain is inevitable, whether good or bad. This is explained through two literary works: Thomas Hardy’s novel ‘Tess of the d’Urbervilles’ and Blake’s two poems,’ The Lamb’ and ‘The Tyger’. In ‘Tess of d’Urbervilles’, the innocent girl Tess gains experience by losing her virginity. By killing Alec D’Urbervilles, her seducer, she loses her innocence completely and gains the experience of a criminal.

She pays the price of experience by her death. Hardy’s inclusion of elements of ‘coincident’ and ‘fate’ and ‘destiny’ shows the inevitability of such experiences and the resulting tragedy in the novel.

Blake in his poem ‘The Lamb’ the meek and mild lamb is the symbol of innocence and Tyger in his poem’ The Tyger’ is the symbol of experience. Through these poems Blake wants to convey that innocence and experience are “two contrary states of human soul” with respect to creation. In ‘Tess of the d’Urbervilles’, Tess is an innocent country girl who is unaware of the evils of society. Her parents as well do not advise her about the danger in men-folks so she is easily seduced by Alec.

Hardy writes: “Why it is that upon this beautiful feminine tissue, sensitive as a gossamer and practically blank as a snow as yet, there should have been traced such a coarse pattern as it was doomed to receive”. Again, after her loss of virginity, she gains experience and matures as a woman, her beauty is enhanced. Angel notice her and they fall in love with each other. She enjoys happiness and bliss for the time being. His love for Tess is abstract, as he calls her “Daughter of Nature” or “Demeter. ” Tess is more an archetype or ideal to him than a flesh and blood woman with a complicated life.

Therefore he cannot accept that Tess is not chaste, as a result he abandon hers. He realizes his mistake too late. She takes the aid of Alec after misfortune befell her family. She loses her innocence completely when she commits the crime of murdering Alec and as a result she is hanged. Hardy’s writing style of using elaborate descriptions, long sentences, elements of coincidence, fate and destiny shows Tess’ inevitable journey from innocence to experience and the resultant doom. In Blake’s poem ‘The Lamb’, Lamb symbolizes Jesus and the child is also associated with Jesus.

So the lamb and child in Jesus symbolizes innocence. In “The Lamb” the style of repetition in the first and last couplet of each stanza helps to give the poem its song-like quality. The flowing l’s and soft vowel sounds add to this effect, and also imply the bleating of a lamb or the lisping character of a child’s song. In Blake’s poem ‘The Tyger’, Tyger is the symbol of experience. It is strikingly beautiful at the same time undeniable because of the underlying evil and violence. To describe the Tyger, Blake uses the imagery of ‘fire’, which is destructive at the same time illuminating.

The ‘Tyger’ presents evil in society, something that cannot be denied. The style of regular and rhythmic meter of the quatrains; its hammering beat suggests the work of the creator, which is the poem’s central image. Blake believed that a person has to pass through a state of innocence, the Lamb as well as understand the contrasting conditions of experience, Tyger, to reach a higher level of consciousness. Blake’s vision of a creative force in the universe which makes a balance of innocence and experience is at the heart of the poem.

The two literary works Hardy’s ‘Tess of d’Urbervilles’ and Blake’ ‘The Lamb’ and ‘The Tyger’ show that Innocence and Experience, both exist in human life and society and experience is an essential part of human existence whether good or bad.

Work Citation: “The Tyger”. 8 October 2007. < http://www. cs. rice. edu/~ssiyer/minstrels/poems/66. html> “’Songs of Innocence and Experience’: ‘The Tyger’ by Blake”. 8 October 2007. <http://www. sparknotes. com/poetry/blake/section6. rhtml> “’Songs of Innocence and Experience’: ‘The lamb’ by Blake”. 8 October 2007. < http://www. sparknotes. com/poetry/blake/section1. html>