SCoJeC is delighted to have been able to assist the Board of Deputies with the presentation of the Jewish Living Experience exhibition in Carlisle, utilising the event as an opportunity to train the volunteers who are participating in our Expanding Jewish Volunteering project.
The Jewish Living Experience (JLE) is a touring interactive educational facility presented by the Board of Deputies of British Jews, which has just been updated with new posters, banners, and other artefacts, is aimed at primary school children aged 8-10 years, but visitors of all ages have also been fascinated by the profusion of information and the abundance of detail about our Jewish customs and practices.
During the first two weeks of December, when it was on display in Tullie House in Carlisle, 700 schoolchildren aged 5-11 years from 17 schools visited the exhibition. As well as learning about Jewish festivals, kashrut and Shabbat – the exhibition includes a table fully laid for Shabbat and another, set out as if for the Pesach Seder – they were able to try on kippot and tallitot; spin the Chanucah dreidel; dress up and act out the Purim story; and even sample fresh challah and matzah. The feedback from teachers was very positive and all voiced the hope that the JLE would return to Carlisle in the future.
The exhibition is usually staffed by members of the local Jewish community, but there is no local community in Carlisle, so it depended almost entirely on SCoJeC’s volunteers and trainees who travelled from Glasgow and Edinburgh. Sheila Gewolb, who organised the visit on behalf of the Board, said:
The success of this exhibition was totally due to Fiona Frank’s team of volunteers. and it could not have visited Carlisle without their help. Their knowledge and experience ensured that the children and their teachers now understand about our vibrant, family orientated religion, and many myths and misconceptions that could lead to prejudice and negative stereotypes, were dispelled. Once again SCoJeC – a huge Thank You!
Board Vice-President Jonathan Arkush, who spoke at the opening of the exhibition, said:
The Jewish Living Exhibition is all about educating people about Jewish traditions and values. Prejudice is often based on ignorance, and the JLE helps to counter ignorance and breaks down prejudice. The Board is grateful to SCoJeC for their dedicated volunteers who travelled long distances to staff the exhibition and conduct visitors round. They played a crucial part in the success of the JLE’s visit to the north of England.
SCoJeC is currently discussing the possibility of bringing the Jewish Living Experience to Scotland and would like to hear from any school or education authority or other body interested in hosting the exhibition – please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.