My first stop for this fieldwork project was Museum of Tolerance, which is located in the city of Los Angeles. This is a museum that particularly covers Judaism (The Holocaust). The museum exhibit about Anne Frank and the history of this Jewish Family. The Museum is across the street from a gas pump and a chase bank. There is a giant poster Anna Frank’s exhibition’s poster on one side of the building. The front of the building is guarded by security. The museum provides free parking but does check your car for safety purposes. From when I was there, students from different schools were on a field trip, waiting to go inside. The ticket costs about $12.50 for students. The Museum is very welcoming to students, and people no matter what race or ethnicity. The museum gives an educational and meaningful approach to Anne’s and her family’s story.
The Museum of Tolerance doesn’t only focus on the Holocaust, it has an excellent exhibit for it. The Museum also tries to focus on other races, religions and ethnic groups. When you enter the Museum, you are given an orientation and from there you can roam around on your own. The exhibition started with a presentation by a Holocaust survivor, who delivered a powerful message describing his experiences being a little boy in hiding. As the section for the Holocaust section starts, you are given an identification card of a real-life Jewish child, who lived through the Holocaust. As the tour goes on, you get updated on that child’s story, where he’s at, how’s he doing..Then at the end, you learn if your “child” lived through the Holocaust or died by the hands of Nazis. In the presentation, the staff covered topics like hate speech, poverty, terrorism and war. One part of the museum was called “The Point of View Diner,” where we watched a movie based on intolerance, after that we were to ask questions about characters and talk about controversial topics.
The Museum also has a kosher cafeteria and there are also many other restaurants within walking distance. Other exhibitions in the Holocaust section include an archive of over 50,000 photos, which also included Anne Frank’s Original Letters. The Museum of Tolerance also has other exhibits on the struggles of civil rights, and videos that feature Rwanda and other hate groups.The exhibition was about two and half hours long. There is also the Anne Frank’s exhibit, which I didn’t get to visit. But from what I’ve heard the exhibition takes you through her life, the place she stayed at. The exhibition also has many of her original works and writings.
The Museum of Tolerance is a must -see, because it talks about a very important subject matter. Though the Holocaust is very hard subject to talk about or even think about, this museum approached it in a more educational way. When leaving the Museum, one can feel very empty because its hard to believe all this happened, and just imagining to be in their shoes can be very painful. The visit to this Museum has helped me learn and gave me a clear view of the Holocaust and the victims.Though this Museum couldn’t change my view of a certain religion, it has changed my view of the world, the museum and education center that delivers a very important and powerful message, which can teach us about our history, and how hate can affect us and the people around Us.
Our next stop after the Museum of Tolerance was Holy Land Exhibition. Which is located in Los Angeles. The museum is based on monotheist religions, Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. The Museum is run by a mother and a daughter. The Museum is located in a Residential area. The white longhouse is located on the corner of the street. According to the two tourist guides, the house was established by Antonia Futterer in 1924. Antonia’s purpose was to help others acquire knowledge of the Bible. For two years, he went on a journey to search for “Lost Golden Ark of the Covenant.”
The five rooms in the museum are filled with authentic items and artifacts, from the holy lands. The tour lasted about two hours. We visited all five rooms in the Museum. The first room we visited was called “ The Damascus Room,” the room was filled with antique artifacts, like game tables, taborets, chairs, desks, and instruments. All the pieces in the room were originally brought from the Holy Lands. The next room we visited was called “Pharaoh’s Treasury,” which had an actual ancient Egyptian Mummy case from over 2000 year old in it. This room also featured many handmade art pieces. In this room, my brother and I were dressed in traditional clothes, that at one point were worn by villagers. Then the tour guide took a picture and talked about the customs and traditions that the Egyptian’s followed.
The third room after this was called “ The Archeology and Bible Art room.” This room was filled with artifacts. The room also features an old and new testament of the bible on hand-colored glass slides with over 300 paintings. The cases in the room feature antique oil lamps, tear bottles (which you literally collect your tears in). And many other Artifacts that Archeologists dug in Palestine, Egypt and other sites in other countries. The Second to last room we visited was called “The Jerusalem Bazaar.” This room was upstairs, which when you enter displayed a camp. Next to it was the “Bazaar of Jerusalem,” This bazaar featured a lot of souvenirs from different countries. On display were embroideries, lamps, and wooden hard work. In this room, you were able to buy the souvenirs, which would go for the donations and also pay for the tour.
Our final stop was the room called, “ The auditorium,” which was had chairs and desks like an actual classroom. The walls of the room were filled with artwork. The front of the room featured a map which the tour guide when over to give us an actual “ Bible System.”According to the tour guide, many of the artifacts and furniture used to be rented out to the film industry for movies and films, and I find that very interesting. The tour was very educational, it was amazing how the tour featured so much in such a small place. Though the tour guides main focused on the religion of Christianity, they didn’t fail to interest me about Islam and Judaism. By visiting this Museum I was able to learn about these religions more culturally and also understand their traditional values and morals in a better way. The tour was a hand on experience and if I could I would want to visit again later in my life, with my friends and family.
My third stop for this field work Project was The Thien Hau Taoist Temple. Which is located in Chinatown, Los Angeles. The temple is located in a quiet school neighborhood. There are metered spots for parking in this front of the temple and also a private lot in the back of the temple. The architect of this building is breathtaking, the temple features colorful interior. The temple is filled with complex details, embellish wood pieces, the temple has the same replica as the ones in Asia, there are also hanging lanterns in the temple. People from the temple were very welcoming and friendly.The temple is very clean and well maintained. There are places for one to sit or talk at. Also, tables where one can eat food or drink some tea. The temple also has this little section where they sell books and other items which are used for donations for the temple. The temple has a very peaceful aura and looks perfect for one to do meditation as well.
While awkwardly looking around the temple, I was able to meet this man name, Michael. He was very friendly and made this experience more special for me. He was very knowledgeable and knew the history very well. He took the time to tell me stories about the Temple’ tradition and legacy. After that, he showed my brother an I the 11 altars and explained the rituals that came along. According to Michael, to respectfully finish the process, when people enter the temple they go to the shrine and pick 11 sticks. Then the light them and go to each altar in the temple, then you place the stick near the altar. Then you pray and continue the process for all 11 Gods. After you are done, you pick up this paper, which is supposed to bring you luck. Also, each altar represents something, can’t remember each one. Oranges and fruits are also placed in front of the altars, which I believe is offered to the Gods.
The temple is also filled with music, like chants, sounds of drums, and gongs, which makes the temple a very spiritual feel and is also very relaxing to listen to. There is also a fortune telling tradition that is performed in front of the altar. The tradition is that one has to kneel in front of the altar and state the name, date of birth and where they live and a question. A cylinder contains numbered sticks which are rocked back and forth, and one is supposed to fall out. Which then is used to confirm the answer to your question.
People can even donate money to the temple. People may also leave bags of food which can also be used to make free meals for visitors and tourist. Another good aspect of the temple is that it offers free food on Saturdays to those in need. Coming to the temple made me realize that one doesn’t have to be Taoist or a believer of these religions to appreciate the aura and calm environment that you feel as soon as you walk through the doors of this temple.
My second to last stop for this project was at Hsi Lai Temple. The Hsi Lai Temple is located in Hacienda Heights. The beauty of this temple is breathtaking. The temple is located on the hill so the view from the temple is marvelous. Every step you take up the stairs, the temple gets even bigger. Because the temple was so big, I wasn’t sure where to start. There are statues in every corner of the temple. There are gardens filled with gorgeous flowers. The staff, as well as the monks, were very kind and friendly. The moment I stepped my foot in that temple, My whole body felt very relaxed. The detail in each room was astonishing and remarkable. There is also a lot of positive and calm energy in the temple. The entry to the temple and parking was also free. The temple does though accept donations.
There are two big statues of Buddha by the gate of the temple. When you enter the building, you will see a hall, which they called the “Bodhisattva Hall.” This hall has over 10,000 idols of Buddha, also a huge shrine in the middle of the hall, which people kneel down in front of to do a prayer. Inside, I met another student, who was studying the religion of Buddhism and visiting this place to learn more. We started talking about Buddhism and he explained the four noble truths of the world to me and then we walked over to the idol of Buddha which had the bunch of fruits offered to it. Which he explained that nothing in this world is forever, even fruits go bad over time so the best time to eat them is when they are still good. Which, was a nice lesson. I wanted to picture inside the temple but was told not to. So I got as much as could from the outside.The temple was so quiet that when people came in and out, you wouldn’t even realize. While they pray and offer their offering to the Buddha, you can hear the sound of monks chanting. It was beautiful and remarkable.
After this, my brother and I roamed around the temple for at least thirty minutes because it was that beautiful. there are various small fountains and artifacts. There is also a small museum and gallery which one can view by paying a dollar. Though I didn’t go inside the lady there explained that the gallery features the history of the temple and a picture of Buddhist temple in Taiwan. The temple also features a tea room, a gift shop and a buffet. My brother and I tried the buffet, which I’ll tell you were nothing like something you’d get at Panda Express. The food tasted very authentic and the tofu dishes were delicious. What I have learned from this trip is that you don’t need to be a believer of Buddhism to visit this temple. Going to this temple gave me a better view about the eastern religions. Though the Thien Hau Taoist Temple is way smaller than the Hsi Lai Temple, both feature the religion of Taoism and Buddhism astonishingly and with friendly staff it makes, it, even more, fun to learn about these religions.
My last stop was at the Riverside Mosque also known as the Islamic Community Center of Riverside, which is located in Riverside. Growing up in Southern California, Islamic Center of Riverside and Islamic Center of Redlands are our go-to places, to worship at. Riverside Mosque doesn’t quite look like a mosque rather an Islamic Center. Though I am a regular visitor at the Islamic Center in Redlands, I have visited the one Riverside at least twice. From my experience, ICCR of Riverside is that it’s very familiar to the one in Redlands. The Islamic community there is very nice and the place makes you feel at home. All ages of Muslims go to the mosque to pray five times a day and next to the Mosque is the Islamic Academy of Riverside, where Muslims learn how to learn the Quran and recite each prayer. Muslims come from all over the world so there is no barrier between races and ethnic groups in the Mosque.
The process for Muslims prayer starts with a “Wu-uh,” where one washes their hands, face, and feet. Then for women, you wear a headscarf and for men a cap to cover your head. Then, you get a prayer mat and recite your prayer. Just like Buddhism and Taoism, Muslims also rely on the spiritual sounds that can relax one’s mind, and provide a peaceful environment. But instead of listening to instrument or chanting, Muslims recite the Quran on a speaker for everyone to here. And when in the time of prayer, The recite the “Azan.” This way it’s easier for Muslims to follow along and also feel the beauty of the “Azan” within. ICCR also provide lectures and teaching covering the topic to Islam. Also, to remind us of what is right and wrong, and how we can fix our problems with the help of Allah.
The religion of Islam teaches one to be at peace, Muslims are the believers of one God. Muslims pray in a very formal way. Muslims don’t rely on meditation for their mind to be at peace or some exercises to distract us from thinking about worldly problems. When Muslims recite their prayers, we have to stand up, sit down, stand up, and bow while reciting our prayers. Just by doing this we can feel our minds at peace. We have steps and rituals to follow. Islam is a religion where people convert to Islam from different backgrounds. We are taught about our religion by teachers that run each Mosque. They play an important role, to teach us, Islam, correctly.
When I was visiting this Mosque, people were setting up tables for the “iftar.” This Saturday the month of “Ramadan” has started. Ramadan is where Muslims fast for a month from sunrise to sunset. This teaches Muslims to self-reflect and refrains from doing bad things like, cursing, smoking, gossiping, etc. Anyway so “Iftar” is the time for sunset, and ICCR every day takes this time to feed the needy and share food with fellow Muslims and neighbors. I am very proud to be part of this religion, just by each prayer my mind feels at peace, and the religion itself is very beautiful.
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