A visit to    Bet Tikvah Synagogue
    (formerly Barkingside Progressive Synagogue)
    129 Perryman's Farm Road, Newbury Park, Essex, IG2 7LX
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Our synagogue building is very easy to get to. It is a small one-storey Victorian building at the corner of Perryman's Farm Road and Chase Lane. There is plenty of parking space for a coach or mini-bus. Otherwise, it is a five-minute walk to the synagogue from Newbury Park Station on the Central Line, along a little footpath that passes between a new housing development and the access road to Sainsbury's superstore. Please ring for detailed directions if you are coming on foot.
What is a synagogue?
The synagogue is where a Jewish community meets to worship. In Redbridge there are at least 13 synagogues, large and small, representing different religious groupings within Judaism. Bet Tikvah is affiliated to Liberal Judaism.
  What is the history of Bet Tikvah?
The community was formed in 1981. Until the building was acquired, regular services were held in the church within the Barnardo's centre in Barkingside. Rabbi Hulbert, the synagogue's first minister, was appointed in 1989.
What are the main features of the building?
The building was originally a local primary school. Within the building are two large public spaces. The first is the synagogue itself, where services are held. The focal point of the synagogue is the Ark, a cupboard on the wall facing the congregation, within which the Torah Scrolls are kept.

The other large hall is a multipurpose meeting room: it is where we hold religious classes for adults and children; the hall is hired out to members of the congregation for their private functions, and it is used for the regular 'friendship club' for senior citizens.

What kind of people would you meet there?
Jewish adults and children who belong to our community. Most of the Jews now living in Redbridge are descended from immigrants who arrived in England toward the end of the 19th Century and settled in the East End around Whitechapel.


What happens there?
A synagogue is a very ancient institution, probably dating back to the 2nd or 3rd century BCE. The institutions of both church and mosque were modelled on the synagogue.The Hebrew words for synagogue are Beth Knesset, which literally means 'Community House'. As well as a place for Jews of the locality to meet, a synagogue is a Beth Ha Midrash, where Jewish children and adults come to study their religious tradition, and a Beth Tefillah, a House of Prayer. A synagogue is also the focus for the Jewish community's charitable endeavours, raising money to help needy individuals and to support good causes.
What happens during the week?
Bet Tikvah is a busy place! Jews meet to pray together regularly on Shabbat (Saturday), the seventh day of the week. There are services both when Shabbat begins on Friday night and on Shabbat morning. The focus of the Shabbat morning service is the public reading from the Torah, one of the scrolls kept in the Ark. Sometimes the rabbi or a lay member reads the Torah; frequently the honour is given to a boy or a girl celebrating their religious 'coming of age' (bar- or bat-mitzvah) soon after their 13th birthday. As well as the regular Shabbat services, Jews celebrate many festivals throughout the year, each with its individual character, such as Pesach, Sukkot, Chanukah, Shavuot and Purim. Every Sunday morning during term, the buildings are transformed into a religion school for our children from the ages of 6 until 16. Within the school, the children are taught the fundamentals of our faith and traditions, and the basics of the Hebrew language to enable them to pray with the community.
What might a visit to Bet Tikvah by a school group include?
Bet Tikvah welcomes school visits up to a maximum of 100 children (plus teachers and adult helpers). A visit would last from one to one-and-a-half hours. For the children to benefit educationally, it is essential for them to have had some classroom preparation covering the principles of the Jewish faith and Jewish religious practice. We would generally expect visits from children in Year Groups 4 and above. Our synagogue can accommodate those in wheelchairs.
When visiting Bet Tikvah, is there anything that you expect of visitors?
During a service, we would expect Jewish and non-Jewish male visitors to cover their heads, but this is not required for an educational visit. Otherwise, the only expectation is that the children should be properly prepared to gain the most from their visit.
How can we find out more?
There is a vast amount of material on the Internet about Judaism. To find out more about Liberal Judaism - the sort of Judaism represented by Bet Tikvah - please visit:  www.ulpsnyc.org or the  Leo Baeck College Centre for Jewish Education
If you would like to learn more about Bet Tikvah, you can telephone us on 020 8554 9682

Or you can e-mail us at bettikvah@talktalkbusiness.net

Or you can access our web-site at  http://www.bettikvah.org.uk

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