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What You Will See Inside a Synagogue

What You Will See Inside a Synagogue

by Lawrence A. Hoffman

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A colorful, fun-to-read introduction that explains the ways and whys of
Jewish worship, faith, and religious life.

What You Will See Inside a Synagogue will:

  • Satisfy kids’ curiosity about what goes on in synagogues attended by their friends, broadening awareness of other faiths at an important age when opinions and


A colorful, fun-to-read introduction that explains the ways and whys of
Jewish worship, faith, and religious life.

What You Will See Inside a Synagogue will:

  • Satisfy kids’ curiosity about what goes on in synagogues attended by their friends, broadening awareness of other faiths at an important age when opinions and prejudices can first form.
  • Provide Jewish children with a deeper understanding of the practices of their own religious tradition.
  • Give children the opportunity to ask questions, making them more active participants.

Colorful full-page photographs set the scene for concise but informative descriptions of what is happening, the objects used, the clergy and laypeople who have specific roles, the spiritual intent of the believers, and more.

The What You Will See Inside… series is designed to show children ages 6–10 the Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How of traditional houses of worship, liturgical celebrations, and rituals of different world faiths, empowering them to respect and understand their own religious traditions—and those of their friends and neighbors.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
This well-structured book, laden with valuable information, should be made available to everyone to bring about a better understanding of the Jewish religion. Its publication in this day and age is sure to make an impact on reading audiences. A shalom and welcome greets readers on the introductory page and sets readers up for the rest of the book. It is also explains that words throughout the text denoted by an * have a pronunciation key on the bottom of the page. The key is a plus for readers who receive the definition of the words from the text. Written in an informative, yet easy, gentle reading manner, the book reaches out to teach about the synagogue as a physical structure and the religious practices of the people who worship there. Wonderfully colorful photographs of synagogues and Jewish people abound. In addition to main photos, several extras, generally in correlation to sidebars, are placed on the text page. JewishLights Publishing and SonLights Publishing have worked together to present material in which people learn about acceptance and working together with others. Other topics covered include Bar and Bat Mitzvah, High Holy Days, and enjoying Shabbat. 2004, SkyLight Paths Publishing, Ages 6 up.
—Nancy Garhan Attebury
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-This book provides a warm and thorough welcome to the center of Jewish life, emphasizing its core purpose as a house of prayer, learning, and community. Each appealing spread focuses on an aspect of synagogue life and practice, from the weekly Shabbat service to holidays and life-cycle events. The text is packed with detailed explanations; occasionally, they can be a bit overwhelming for children who might not be familiar with Judaism. Still, the book has a friendly tone and emphasizes basic values such as the importance of learning and welcoming strangers. Numerous clear color photos and pronunciation guides for Hebrew words are included. While the focus is on synagogues in the Conservative, Reconstructionist, and Reform movements within North America, the authors point out that Jews throughout the world practice their religion in synagogues. An excellent overview.-Teri Markson, Stephen S. Wise Temple Elementary School, Los Angeles Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Descriptive, colorful photography illuminates the vibrant center of Jewish life-the synagogue, a sanctuary for worship, a school for studying and learning and a gathering place for celebration, mitzvoth (doing good work) and commemoration. Hoffman gives clear, informative depictions of the diverse functions within the building, including Hebrew terminology in both transliterated and translated form. Weekly Shabbat services, celebrations of baby namings, to b'nai mitzvahs, to weddings and holidays, are simply illustrated and enhanced with detailed sidebars. The lucid text is written to appeal to most types of synagogue communities in North America: that of the Conservative, Reconstructionist and Reform movements with a variety of families-young, old, single-depicting women and men equally participating in the rituals and traditions. Spacious, attractive design welcomes the reader into both the spiritual and cultural world of Judaism. For all multicultural and Judaic collections. (Nonfiction. 9+)

Product Details

Turner Publishing Company
Publication date:
What You Will See Inside ... Series
Product dimensions:
8.50(w) x 10.50(h) x 0.12(d)
Age Range:
6 - 10 Years

Meet the Author

Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman, PhD, has served for more than three decades as professor of liturgy at Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion in New York. He is a world-renowned liturgist and holder of the Stephen and Barbara Friedman Chair in Liturgy, Worship and Ritual. His work combines research in Jewish ritual, worship and spirituality with a passion for the spiritual renewal of contemporary Judaism.

His many books, written and edited, include seven volumes in the Prayers of Awe series: Who by Fire, Who by Water—Un'taneh Tokef; All These Vows—Kol Nidre; We Have Sinned: Sin and Confession in Judaism—Ashamnu and Al Chet; May God Remember: Memory and Memorializing in Judaism—Yizkor; All the World: Universalism, Particularism and the High Holy Days; Naming God: Avinu MalkeinuOur Father, Our King; and Encountering God: El Rachum V'chanun—God Merciful and Gracious. Hoffman also edited the ten-volume series My People’s Prayer Book: Traditional Prayers, Modern Commentaries, winner of the National Jewish Book Award; and coedited My People’s Passover Haggadah: Traditional Texts, Modern Commentaries, a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award (all Jewish Lights).

Rabbi Hoffman cofounded and developed Synagogue 2/3000, a transdenominational project to envision and implement the ideal synagogue of the spirit for the twenty-first century. In that capacity, he wrote Rethinking Synagogues: A New Vocabulary for Congregational Life (Jewish Lights).

Dr. Ron Wolfson, visionary educator and inspirational speaker, is Fingerhut Professor of Education at American Jewish University in Los Angeles and a cofounder of Synagogue 3000. He is author of Relational Judaism: Using the Power of Relationships to Transform the Jewish Community; The Seven Questions You're Asked in Heaven: Reviewing and Renewing Your Life on Earth; Be Like God: God's To-Do List for Kids; God's To-Do List: 103 Ways to Be an Angel and Do God's Work on Earth; Hanukkah, Passover and Shabbat, all Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs Art of Jewish Living family guides to spiritual celebrations; The Spirituality of Welcoming: How to Transform Your Congregation into a Sacred Community; A Time to Mourn, a Time to Comfort: A Guide to Jewish Bereavement and Comfort and, with Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman, What You Will See Inside a Synagogue (all Jewish Lights), a book for children ages 6 and up. He contributed to May God Remember: Memory and Memorializing in Judaism—Yizkor, Who by Fire, Who by Water—Un'taneh Tokef, All These Vows—Kol Nidre and We Have Sinned: Sin and Confession in Judaism—Ashamnu and Al Chet (all Jewish Lights).

Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, a parent, spiritual leader and storyteller, is the award-winning author of God's Paintbrush, In God's Name, God In Between and many other inspiring books for children of all faiths and backgrounds. The second woman to be ordained as a rabbi (1974) and the first rabbi to become a mother, she and her husband, Dennis, were the first rabbinical couple to jointly lead a congregation—Beth-El Zedeck in Indianapolis. They have two children, David and Debora, and three grandchildren. Sasso, who holds a doctorate in ministry, is active in the interfaith community, and has written and lectured on the renewal of spirituality and the discovery of the religious imagination in children of all faiths.

Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso is available to speak on the following topics:

  • Nurturing the Spiritual Imagination of Children
  • Tell Me a Story: Reading the Bible and the Religious Imagination of Children
  • Filling in the Blanks: How Women Read the Bible
  • Women and Judaism: A Personal Journey
  • Midrash as a Tool for Spiritual Reflection

Click here to contact the author.

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