A Warm Welcome

September 14, 2019. Chevera Mishnayes Synagogue, 700 Jefferson Ave., Winnipeg, MB.

Adas Israel, a 191 year old synagogue Duluth, Minnesota, was destroyed by an arsonist. We decided to support our jewish brothers and sisters by praying at a synagogue. We picked Chevera Mishnayes Synagogue and received a spiritual pick me up on this special day. 

We were welcomed by a parishioner who expressed his gratitude for us supporting their community with our attendance. He said he felt very supported when non - Jews attended synagogue because it was evidence of unity of all people, regardless of their faith tradition. He said it helped him see that Jews are not alone. 

We were invited in with such hospitality. The faithful introduced themselves, and took us to our pew.. They immediately brought prayer books and after each reading of the Torah kept a new member came over and introduced himself. . Within a very short period, we felt like family and that we had come home to pray.

As soon as we walked in, I could see a group of angels dissipating on the altar as the members on the altar were getting ready for the next reading. I saw a group of angels dispersing. There were roughly 20-30 of them. All I could see was wings flying away. The wings were about six feet long three foot tall, and pearlescent.  The wings were quiet and did not make any noise. 

After all the wings dispersed there were still a pair of golden wings surrounding the ten commandments, that were above the case that held the holy Torahs. 

One angel remained on either side of the altar. They were roughly 12 feet tall. They were wearing long, off white robes that were slim fitting, not flowing. The robes covered their feet. They had brown shoulder length hair and beard. Their skin was olive coloured. They had nice curved noses. They were standing and protecting the altar. 

During the service they had people come on stage, including female members to sing the Torah. It was so nice to hear female voices sing. We were asked if we would like to come up and stand beside a senior member-Robbie who sang the Torah. We both felt privileged to stand in such reverent space and assist this group in their prayer. It was very spiritually uplifting to see how they followed the Torah to the letter in reciting their prayers. 

During the service a gentleman in spirit stood behind me. He was wearing a bigger sized multi coloured yarmulke, and a prayer shawl. In the beginning when we came, the elders had not confirmed which part of the Torah they were about to recite and were discussing it, the parishioners were talking, and he was irritated at the lack of reverence to how people were not staying silent in prayer. He said, “Why are they talking, they shouldn’t be talking in here.” Then when I pulled out my phone to take a photo, he said, “Hey, you can’t have phones in the synogogue, and it's Shabat, why are you using a phone?” He definitely made me change my behaviour and I quickly hid my phone away. 

When they started reading the Torah, over a velvet cover that was lying on the altar, a thin bread appeared etherically, slightly brown on top and roughly 24 inches wide. There were uncooked fruits and vegetables on top of the bread.  A voice said that the tradition of offering bread to the needy needed to be maintained This is the first time that we have received a message to do something in a temple we visited, and we felt it was important to share it with the faithful.

After the service, we were invited to join in the kiddush, a small meal that they had prepared in their basement. It was a great opportunity to share our experience and bond with the friendly group that invited us in so graciously.