The sophomore Honors World Literature classes took advantage of their field trip to the Har Hasham Synagogue in Boulder, CO to learn more about Judaism. The summer homework was over the book The Chosen by Chaim Potok, which features two Jewish boys. Visiting the synagogue was another learning opportunity to further explore the text.
Many of the students didn’t understand the religious aspects of the book, but when they were able to go to the synagogue and image the characters being in a similar place, it brought the book to life.
“It helped me understand why the characters did what they did and what the characters’ outlooks on life were,” said Sara Knipple (’19).
Even without connecting anything back to the book, a lot of cultural exposure was gained.
“Reading about the Torah doesn’t allow you to see how beautiful it is, or how beautiful it is to hear the Hebrew chanted. Seeing it makes it real,” said Mrs. Ruybal, an HN World Literature teacher.
Western culture consists mainly of Christianity, so there were some differences that students noticed between the Jewish synagogue and a Christian church.
“Christian churches are a lot more common and tend to be larger in size. Also, we do not need a special place to store our Bible like they have for their Torah. And not all Christian churches sing hymns,” said Sara Knipple (’19).
Even the simple environment appealed to the students from the moment they entered the synagogue.
“It was very peaceful. It was beautiful, and it was very interesting,” said Gabrielle Doyle (’19).
Everyone seemed to agree, the synagogue was a positive experience worthy of missing a whole day of school and they would gladly go again.
“I learned a lot more than I would have just in a classroom at school,” said Stella Hindman (’19).
Even the teachers are more than happy to put in the extra time to arrange for the visits and get the permission for field trips.
“I love that students get to see something they wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity see,” said Ruybal.