Our field trip to the Jewish Community in Helsinki taught us a lot. We learned that there are about 2000 Jews in Finland and the synagogue in Helsinki was built in 1906. Three prayers take place in the synagogue every day and everyone is welcome!

Jewish traditions are quite special and different. For Christians, Sunday is a church day, for Muslims Friday, but for Jews Saturday is for rest and contemplation – Sabbath. During Sabbath Jews are not allowed to DO anything, only pray, eat, and drink a little wine. They are not, for example, allowed to have sex, work, watch TV, walk, use electricity or anything that requires an effort. During Sabbath Jews have time to pray and think and thank God for everything.

The Jewish calendar is determined by the moon, not the sun. Therefore, sometimes there can be 13 months instead of 12 and the holidays are different. Kosher food means food that Jews are allowed to eat. No milk after meat, no pork, no shrimp, no red M&M’s (the red dye is from lice) etc. There are no good kosher restaurants in Helsinki so many Orthodox Jews cook at home.

Christmas is 8 days long and therefore 8 candles are lit. Special Christmas food is kosher and often fried in oil to symbolise the miracle of when God made sure there was enough oil to light the ancient, holy temples.

Happy Hanukka everyone!

Link: Jewish life in Finland

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Photos (c) Sebastian Salo

2 Responses to “The Jewish Community in Helsinki”

  1. Audrey Says:

    it is not true that Jews cannot have sex or walk on the Sabbath. a lot of what is written here is inaccurate.

  2. mjw Says:

    Most of the information contained on this page is dreadfully incorrect – please seek other resources before formulating an opinion or quoting what you read here

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