Showcase of Jewish faith and culture launched at school in Bedford

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An exhibition launched this week at a Bedford school featuring the Jewish faith and festivals is open to visitors.

The Jewish Living Experience has been brought to St Thomas More Teaching School in Brickhill by The Board of Deputies of British Jews and will be running until Thursday, January 30.

The exhibition has travelled around the UK for more than 35 years, teaching non Jewish primary school children about the basics of the Jewish faith including festivals, Shabbat, Kashrut and Bar/Bat Mitzvah.

It comprises about a dozen stands with simple information and role playing items, including a mocked up Shabbat table, dressing up items, examples of kosher foods and engaging puzzles.

The exhibition has an interactive and hands-on approach which gives visitors the opportunity to experience Judaism through the use of detailed illustrated display panels, authentic Jewish artefacts and various educational activities. The exhibition is open to people of all ages but is most suited to schoolchildren age seven to 14, in key stages two and three.

The exhibition will be open to everyone including local schools and residents, and the school says all are invited to visit.

Visitors must book in advance with the school, as for health and safety there will be a limited number for visitors for each session.

Trained volunteers will be on hand at most sessions to answer questions and offer further explanation about the practices and values of Judaism in a fun, interactive way.

Headmaster of St Thomas More Teaching School James Richardson said: “We are proud to host Jewish Living Experience as part of our aim to bring understanding not only to our own staff and students, but also to the wider community.

“It is a great opportunity for us to ensure that St Thomas More continues to grow as a place of faith where students, staff and friends of all faith backgrounds are welcomed and their faith nourished.”

Sara Younger, education policy and projects manager for the Board, said: “We are delighted that St Thomas More are allowing us use of their space. We look forward to showcasing the Jewish Way of Life Exhibition and our new Life Cycle section to all school children in Bedfordshire.

“Our aims are to offer an understanding of Judaism, to combat prejudice and stereotypes, whilst forming relationships with communities. This creates positive dialogue for the future. We believe that the exhibition is a modern and fun way of ensuring youngsters understand the basics about Judaism.”