The Year 11 cohort had the privilege to listen to Rabbi Gad Krebs, who expanded our knowledge on Judaism. Rabbi Krebs has been the fulltime Rabbi of the Kehill at Masada Shul (Synagogue) in St Ives since 2007.
Rabbi Krebs opened with the question, “Am I what you expected to see?” This captivated the students, as it combatted their common beliefs regarding the appearance of religious leaders, which ultimately provided us with an insight into the diversity of people in religion.
How many people would you think believed in Judaism? There are approximately 14 million people who follow the religion. This is a significantly smaller number of followers compared to the other religions. The students found this extremely fascinating, considering that Christianity was derived from Judaism, due to the introduction of Christ. Rabbi Krebs then progressed into his explanation of the religion of Judaism – interestingly, he told us that being Jewish does not mean you believe in the religion Judaism, and that less than 10 percent of Jews believe in Judaism.
The Jewish understanding of God, sees God not as a physical being, as you cannot see or feel him. They perceive God as a being which cannot be attributed human emotions and their actions in the world does not affect God. For Judaism, a relationship with God is powerful and the main purpose of life, and it is not a case of ‘quid pro quo,’ – following God’s ways is not done in order to receive a reward from God, particularly in the afterlife. Rabbi Krebs alluded to his relationship with God as one where he would not be punished if he committed wrongdoings, but he would weaken his relationship with God.
Judaism sees the world as deliberately created imperfect by God, who has placed people on earth to fix it. God has given humans the tools to overcome challenges and to perfect the world, mirroring Rabbi Krebs’ comment: “The world is not perfect, it is made to be perfect.” Judaism is based on the premise that everyone has ‘the spark of divinity’ and that we must bring it into the world, in order to provide a better existence for all. Judaism follows the moral standards of humanity and it is believed that it is evil when a person solely follows their desires, rather than considering ethical morals of humanity and of God.
The content presented was extremely insightful. Although the ideas presented were different to the beliefs of students, the content allowed us to expand our knowledge regarding Judaism. Content such as this, is significantly valuable for our learning experiences as students. We have been privileged to have Rabbi Krebs come in and speak to us which was an extraordinary opportunity, similar to the previous talks on Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. We have been fortunate enough to have these knowledgeable speakers come and share their beliefs with us. These opportunities allow us to expand our knowledge on several global topics and are very beneficial for our development.
Going forward, the talks have made us more open to the beliefs of others, rather than dismissing them as soon as we realise that they do not align with our own. They have allowed us to learn the important life skill of being open-minded about different perspectives. By learning about other religions, it broadens our knowledge on the differing perspectives.
Throughout this course, the Year 11 cohort has had the absolute privilege of hearing from several renowned and knowledgeable leaders from the religions of Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Judaism. Through these talks, we have been able to develop as men, and learn to empathise with others by gaining knowledge through them. These skills are beneficial to our learning and growth as individuals.
At Trinity Grammar School our mission is to provide boys with a thoroughly Christian education in mind, body and spirit. We actively encourage our students to grow in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man, so that they may become responsible, contributing members of society. We strive to promote the spiritual, academic, social, physical and cultural development of our boys, based on a biblical understanding of the Christian faith.
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