Discovering new religions


by Yeheun Son, Staff Writer

Most Glen Rock locals don’t realize the variety of religions that the town has to offer. Students that partake in GRHS’s English as Second Language (ESL) program had the opportunity to visit some of the different places of worship.

Four current and two former ESL students, along with Mrs. Kazancioglu and Mrs. Martin visited the Glen Rock Jewish Center, Glen Rock Gurudwara, and Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.

“We have been reading Merchant of Venice and I thought they [the ESL students] needed background information. They are from other countries so many are not familiar with Judaism and Christianity,” said the ESL teacher, Mrs. Kazancioglu.

The trip did not require yellow school bus or to pack their own lunch like a typical field trip. In the beautiful June weather, the students left the school and walked on Harristown Road to their first destination, Glen Rock Jewish Center.

The ceilings were high and there was gorgeously ornate stained glass that replaced penetrable windows. There was even a memorial on one of the walls for the men and women who suffered and died during the Holocaust.

The Rabbi, Neil Tow was very friendly and showed the students around.

The student had the opportunity to ask questions to the leaders on each of their specific religions and they could relate it back to the book they read.

“He spoke about Jewish diaspora and possible reasons for anti-Semitism in relation to The Merchant of Venice,” Mrs. Kazancioglu said.

“That was the most interesting thing was seeing the Torah,” said graduating senior, Laura Martin.

Most of the students have never seen a Torah before, so they got to look at it closely and see the Hebrew language.

“The Rabbi read it for us [in Hebrew language],” added Harjasleen Singh, GRHS sophomore.

After the conclusion of their visit at the Glen Rock Jewish Center, they walked to the Sikh temple, called Gurudwara on Prospect Street.

Two of the students are Sikhs, followers of Sikhism, so they decided to walk by the Sikh temple, furthering the purpose of the field trip. The students not only to gained background information from the book but they learned about each other’s religions.

“I liked the onion shaped domes on the Sikh temple,” said Mrs. Kazancioglu.

Two temple priests, Giani Raghuvinder Singh and Raghbir Singh were there to welcome students and the president of the temple’s daughter, Andy Hundal gave them a tour.

They sat around on the floor in a big circle and Ms. Hundal gave them a lecture about how the Sikh religion was founded and its basic principles.

They also could see the holy book and took a group pictures, each of them covering their hair with scarves and keshs for the respects of the religion.

After, they ate a traditional Indian meal at the temple for lunch. The members of the temple were very welcoming and helped the students with anything they needed.

The last place the students visited was Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, located on Highwood Avenue.

“Going to church with my ESL friends was totally new experience for me,” said Jagdeep Singh.

The group sat on a pew, ready to experience a new, different religion.

Pastor Bruce Bassett gave them a lecture about Martin Luther who found Lutheranism and discussed the differences between Lutheranism and Catholicism.

After the last church, the students returned back to the school and reflected on the religions they were exposed to.

“I learned how popular the religions are in the U.S unlike in Japan,” said Fu Naria.