Thursday, 3 October 2013

Youth Voice visit to St Annes Synagogue

This year we have a new dREam team for school. Gitana, Amberine, Louis and Jordan are our newly appointed representatives for the Lancashire SACRE Youth Voice project. Their first task was to attend a meeting with the other schools involved at the synagogue in St Annes. Here is their report...

The meeting began with a welcome from Helen Harrison and members of the synagogue and then an ice breaker activity so that we could all get to know one another.

Everyone was friendly and soon settled down to work discussing what we wanted to achieve from our meeting.  Georgina from Fearns school said that we "are here to bring back RE! - to give it a boost", whilst Gitana wanted to learn more about what the SACRE does and what is involved in the project. Louis was very clear that being out of school was not just about having a good time. Whatever we achieve must then be followed up with work in school and finding out what people actually want from RE. Harry from All Hallows raised the point that we need to think about what RE might be able to do even better, such as more discussions to help young people understand and make decisions about some of the things that are going on in the world today - many of which involve religion in some way. Many of us also wanted to find out more about the faith community who had welcomed us for this meeting and were keen to ask questions of our Jewish hosts.

After an introduction talk we then had the chance to explore the beautiful synagogue and ask plenty of questions about the Jewish faith and how being Jewish affected the values and lifestyle of the community in St Annes.
We got a real sense that family and tradition were key elements of Judaism and that it was important to keep alive the rituals and traditions of the faith as a reminder of being a link in a chain right the way back to Abraham.

We all had different aspects of the synagogue that we particularly liked, but one thing that was a favourite for all of us were the biscuits! We were shown around the kosher kitchen and the food rules were explained to us. This was very interesting, but what we really wanted to know was the secret recipe for the delicious shortbread.

We began to gain an understanding of how the Lancashire field of enquiry for RE works. The starting point is clearly asking questions and then searching for the answers within the faith that is being

studied. Helen reminded us that RE is different from History; we are learning about LIVING religious traditions and so it is important to listen to and learn from the communities who are living the faith.

We need to make sure more people understand the aims of RE and what is really going on in our RE lessons. There are still people who have some very outdated ideas and we need to find a way to
promote RE and start talking to people about what it is like at our school. We have been set the challenge of finding out what parents think about RE.
If you are a parent reading this and would like to share your views with us, please email Ms Harris ~
 and she will pass them on.

We are really looking forward to the opportunity to be part of the Youth Voice group and to taking part in visits to find out more about the faith groups in our area.

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