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Why we are loud and proud
2:30pm Friday 27th July 2012 in Thought for the week
PERHAPS some of you watched ‘Strictly Kosher’ on TV. It may have thrown up some unanswered questions about the Jewish way of life which I thought I’d address here: Why the noise? Why the crowds? Why all that food?
In multi-faith Altrincham, many of us know about other religions, but observing Jewish life from the outside – or through a TV camera lens – makes polar opposite moments of life appear oddly similar.
Whether it’s a Simcha (a celebration) or a Shivah house (a house of mourning) both occasions seem loud, full and crowded, whether in shared happiness or shared sorrow. People gather, eat, pray and talk noisily, even at a house of mourning. Where is the hushed reverence?
Mourners are exempt from doing anything except remember their deceased relatives in thought and prayer, which means it’s incumbent on others to bring food and meals. They also bring memories.
Remembering the Exodus at the Pesach Seder involves specific foods which are reminders to the youngest attending. Food doesn’t simply feed the body but excites the senses and reinforces those memories.
In attending mourning houses, all generations connect to the Jewish ‘chain of memory’. Young people become part of a shared history since hearing about older, deceased relatives teaches them about their own past.
Charlotte Gringrass Altrincham Interfaith Group