Synagogue

A synagogue (pronounced /ˈsɪnəɡɒɡ/; from Greek συναγωγή, synagogē, 'assembly', Hebrew: בית כנסת bet kenesset, 'house of assembly' or בית תפילה bet tefila, "house of prayer", Yiddish: שול shul, Ladino: אסנוגה esnoga or קהל kahal), is a Jewish or Samaritan house of worship.

Synagogues have a large place for prayer (the main sanctuary) and may also have smaller rooms for study and sometimes a social hall and offices. Some have a separate room for Torah study, called the בית מדרש beth midrash "house of study".

Synagogues are consecrated spaces used for the purpose of prayer, Tanakh (the entire Hebrew Bible, including the Torah) reading, study and assembly; however, a synagogue is not necessary for worship. Halakha holds that communal Jewish worship can be carried out wherever ten Jews (a minyan) assemble. Worship can also be carried out alone or with fewer than ten people assembled together. However, halakha considers certain prayers as communal prayers and therefore they may be recited only by a minyan. In terms of its specific ritual and liturgical functions, the synagogue does not replace the long-since destroyed Temple in Jerusalem.

Terminology

Israelis use the Hebrew term beyt knesset "house of assembly". Ashkenazi Jews have traditionally used the Yiddish term shul (cognate with the German Schule, 'school') in everyday speech. Sephardi Jews and Romaniote Jews generally use the term kal (from the Hebrew Ḳahal, meaning "community"). Spanish Jews call the synagogue a sinagoga and Portuguese Jews call it an esnoga. Persian Jews and some Karaite Jews also use the term kenesa, which is derived from Aramaic, and some Mizrahi Jews use kenis. Some Reform, Reconstructionist, and Conservative Jews use the word "temple". The Greek word synagogue is used in English (German, French and most Romance languages) to cover the preceding possibilities.[1]

Origins

Although synagogues existed a long time before the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, communal worship in the time while the Temple still stood centered around the korbanot ("sacrificial offerings") brought by the kohanim ("priests") in the Temple in Jerusalem. The all-day Yom Kippur service, in fact, was an event in which the congregation both observed the movements of the kohen gadol ("the high priest") as he offered the day's sacrifices and prayed for his success.

During the Babylonian captivity (586–537 BCE) the men of the Great Assembly formalized and standardized the language of the Jewish prayers. Prior to that people prayed as they saw fit, with each individual praying in his or her own way, and there were no standard prayers that were recited.

Johanan ben Zakai, one of the leaders at the end of the Second Temple era, promulgated the idea of creating individual houses of worship in whatever locale Jews found themselves. This contributed to the continuity of the Jewish people by maintaining a unique identity and a portable way of worship despite the destruction of the Temple, according to many historians.

Synagogues in the sense of purpose-built spaces for worship, or rooms originally constructed for some other purpose but reserved for formal, communal prayer, however, existed long before the destruction of the Second Temple.[2] The earliest archaeological evidence for the existence of very early synagogues comes from Egypt, where stone synagogue dedication inscriptions dating from the 3rd century BCE prove that synagogues existed by that date.[3] More than a dozen Jewish (and possibly Samaritan) Second Temple era synagogues have been identified by archaeologists in Israel and other countries belonging to the Hellenistic world.[2]

Any Jew or group of Jews can build a synagogue. Synagogues have been constructed by ancient Jewish kings, by wealthy patrons, as part of a wide range of human institutions including secular educational institutions, governments, and hotels, by the entire community of Jews living in a particular place, or by sub-groups of Jews arrayed according to occupation, ethnicity (i.e. the Sephardic, Polish or Persian Jews of a town), style of religious observance (i.e., a Reform or an Orthodox synagogue), or by the followers of a particular rabbi.

Purim 2018
Reading from an open Torah scroll

It has been theorized that the synagogue became a place of worship in the region upon the destruction of the Second Temple during the First Jewish–Roman War; however, others speculate that there had been places of prayer, apart from the Temple, during the Hellenistic period. The popularization of prayer over sacrifice during the years prior to the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE[4] had prepared the Jews for life in the diaspora, where prayer would serve as the focus of Jewish worship.[5]

Despite the possibility of synagogue-like spaces prior to the First Jewish–Roman War, the synagogue emerged as a stronghold for Jewish worship upon the destruction of the Temple. For Jews living in the wake of the Revolt, the synagogue functioned as a "portable system of worship". Within the synagogue, Jews worshipped by way of prayer rather than sacrifices, which had previously served as the main form of worship within the Second Temple.[6]

ZodiacMosaicTzippori

Mosaic in the Tzippori Synagogue

Ruins of the Ancient Synagogue at Bar'am

Ruins of the ancient synagogue of Kfar Bar'am

Samaritan synagogues

Name and history

The Samaritan house of worship is also called a synagogue.[7] During the 3rd and 2nd centuries BCE, during the Hellenistic period, the Greek word used in the Diaspora by Samaritans and Jews was the same: proseucheµ (literally, a place of prayer); a later, 3rd or 4th century CE inscription, uses a similar Greek term: eukteµrion (prayer house).[7] The oldest Samaritan synagogue discovered so far is from Delos in the Aegean Islands, with an inscription dated between 250 and 175 BCE, while most Samaritan synagogues excavated in the wider Land of Israel and ancient Samaria in particular, were built during the 4th-7th centuries, at the very end of the Roman and throughout the Byzantine period.[7]

Distinguishing elements

The elements which distinguish Samaritan synagogues from contemporary Jewish ones are:

  • Alphabet: the use of the Samaritan script[7]
  • Orthography. When the Samaritan script is used, there are some Hebrew words which would be spelled in a way typical only for the Samaritan Pentateuch, for instance "forever" is written 'lmw instead of l'lm.[7] When Greek is the language used in inscriptions, typically, Samaritans may contract two Hebrew words into one, such har (mountain) and Gerizim becoming, in Greek, Argarizein.[7]
  • Orientation: the facade, or entrance of the Samaritan synagogue, is typically facing towards Mount Gerizim, which is the most holy site to Samaritans, while Jewish synagogues would be oriented towards Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.[7]
  • Decoration: the mosaic floor and other architectural elements or artifacts are sometimes decorated with typical symbols.[7] As the Samaritans have historically adhered more strictly to the commandment forbidding the creation of any "graven image", they would not use any depictions of man or beast.[7] Representations of the signs of the zodiac, of human figures or even Greek deities such as the god Helios, as seen in Byzantine-period Jewish synagogues, would be unimaginable in Samaritan buildings of any period.[7]
A representation of Mount Gerizim is a clear indication of Samaritan identity.[7] On the other hand, although the existence of a Samaritan temple on Mount Gerizim is both mentioned by Josephus and confirmed by archaeological excavation at its summit, the temple's early destruction in the 2nd century BCE led to its memory disappearing from Samaritan tradition, so that no temple-related items would be found in Samaritan synagogue depictions.[7] Religious implements, such as are also known from ancient Jewish synagogue mosaics (menorah, shofar, shewbread table, trumpets, incense shovels, and specifically the facade of what looks like a temple or a Torah shrine) are also present in Samaritan ones, but the objects are always related to the desert Tabernacle, the Ark of the Covenant within the Tabernacle, or the Torah shrine in the synagogue itself.[7] Samaritans believe that at the end of time the Tabernacle and its utensils will be recovered from the place they were buried on Mount Gerizim and as such play an important role in Samaritan beliefs.[7] Since the same artists, such as mosaicists, worked for all ethno-religious communities of the time, some depictions might be identical in Samaritan and Jewish synagogues, Christian churches and pagan temples, but their significance would differ.[7]
Missing from Samaritan synagogue floors would be images often found in Jewish ones: the lulav (palm-branch) and etrog (lemon-like fruit) have a different ritual use by Samaritans celebrating Sukkot, and do not appear on mosaic floors.[7]
  • Ritual baths near the synagogue after 70 CE: Jews abandoned the habit of building mikva'ot next to their houses of worship after the 70 CE destruction of the Jerusalem Temple, but Samaritans continued with the practice.[7]

Archaeological finds

Ancient Samaritan synagogues are mentioned by literary sources or have been found by archaeologists in the Diaspora, in the wider Holy Land, and specifically in Samaria.[7]

Diaspora

  • Delos: a Samaritan inscription has been dated to between 250 and 175 BCE.[7]
  • Rome and Tarsus: ancient literature offers hints that Samaritan synagogues may have existed in these cities between the fourth and sixth centuries CE.[7]
  • Thessaloniki and Syracuse: short inscriptions found there and using the Samaritan and Greek alphabet may originate from Samaritan synagogues.[7]

The wider Holy Land

  • Sha'alvim synagogue, discovered in Judea, northwest of Jerusalem. Probably built in the 4th or 5th century CE and destroyed in the 5th or 6th.[7]
  • Tell Qasile synagogue, built at the beginning of the 7th century CE[7]
  • Beth Shean, "Synagogue A". A room added to an existing building in the late 6th or early 7th century CE served as a Samaritan synagogue.[7]

Samaria

  • El-Khirbe synagogue, discovered c. 3 km from Sebaste, was built in the 4th century CE and remained in use into the Early Islamic period, with a break during the late 5th-early 6th century[7]
  • Khirbet Samara synagogue, c. 20 km northwest of Nablus and built in the 4th century CE[7]
  • Zur Natan synagogue, c. 29 km west of Nablus and built in the 5th century CE[7]

Jewish-Christian synagogue-churches

During the first Christian centuries, Jewish-Christians used houses of worship known in academic literature as synagogue-churches. Scholars have claimed to have identified such houses of worship of the Jews who had accepted Jesus as the Messiah in Jerusalem[8] and Nazareth.[9][10]

Architectural design

Exterior of kaifeng synagogue
Aerial view of the synagogue of the Kaifeng Jewish community in China.

There is no set blueprint for synagogues and the architectural shapes and interior designs of synagogues vary greatly. In fact, the influence from other local religious buildings can often be seen in synagogue arches, domes and towers.

Historically, synagogues were built in the prevailing architectural style of their time and place. Thus, the synagogue in Kaifeng, China looked very like Chinese temples of that region and era, with its outer wall and open garden in which several buildings were arranged. The styles of the earliest synagogues resembled the temples of other cults of the Eastern Roman Empire. The surviving synagogues of medieval Spain are embellished with mudéjar plasterwork. The surviving medieval synagogues in Budapest and Prague are typical Gothic structures.

With the emancipation of Jews in Western European countries, which not only enabled Jews to enter fields of enterprise from which they were formerly barred, but gave them the right to build synagogues without needing special permissions, synagogue architecture blossomed. Large Jewish communities wished to show not only their wealth but also their newly acquired status as citizens by constructing magnificent synagogues. These were built across Western Europe and in the United States in all of the historicist or revival styles then in fashion. Thus there were Neoclassical, Neo-Byzantine, Romanesque Revival, Moorish Revival, Gothic Revival, and Greek Revival. There are Egyptian Revival synagogues and even one Mayan Revival synagogue. In the 19th century and early 20th century heyday of historicist architecture, however, most historicist synagogues, even the most magnificent ones, did not attempt a pure style, or even any particular style, and are best described as eclectic.

In the post-war era, synagogue architecture abandoned historicist styles for modernism.

TemplesholomChicago
Temple Sholom in Chicago's neighborhood of Lakeview

Interior elements

Bimah (platform)

All synagogues contain a Bimah, a large, raised, reader's platform (called teḇah (reading dais) by Sephardim), where the Torah scroll is placed to be read. In Sephardi synagogues it is also used as the prayer leader's reading desk.

BialyBimah

Bimah at the Bialystoker Synagogue with Torah Ark in background.

SPAmster

Interior of the Portuguese Synagogue (Amsterdam) showing Tebah in the foreground, and Torah Ark in the background.

Table or lectern

In Ashkenazi synagogues, the Torah was read on a reader's table located in the center of the room, while the leader of the prayer service, the hazzan, stood at his own lectern or table, facing the Ark. In Sephardic synagogues, the table for reading the Torah (reading dais) was commonly placed at the opposite side of the room from the Torah Ark, leaving the center of the floor empty for the use of a ceremonial procession carrying the Torah between the Ark and the reading table. Most contemporary synagogues feature a lectern for the rabbi.

Torah Ark

The Torah Ark, called in Hebrew ארון קודש Aron Kodesh or 'holy chest', and alternatively called the heikhalהיכל or 'temple' by Sephardic Jews, is a cabinet in which the Torah scrolls are kept.

The ark in a synagogue is almost always positioned in such a way such that those who face it are facing towards Jerusalem. Thus, sanctuary seating plans in the Western world generally face east, while those east of Israel face west. Sanctuaries in Israel face towards Jerusalem. Occasionally synagogues face other directions for structural reasons; in such cases, some individuals might turn to face Jerusalem when standing for prayers, but the congregation as a whole does not.

The Ark is reminiscent of the Ark of the Covenant, which held the tablets inscribed with the Ten Commandments. This is the holiest spot in a synagogue, equivalent to the Holy of Holies. The Ark is often closed with an ornate curtain, the parochet פרוכת, which hangs outside or inside the ark doors.

Eternal Light

Ner tamid
A ner tamid hanging over the ark in a synagogue

Other traditional features include a continually lit lamp or lantern, usually electric in contemporary synagogues, called the ner tamid (נר תמיד), the "Eternal Light", used as a way to honor the Divine Presence.[11]

Inner decoration

A synagogue may be decorated with artwork, but in the Rabbinic and Orthodox tradition, three-dimensional sculptures and depictions of the human body are not allowed as these are considered akin to idolatry.

Seating

Originally, synagogues were made devoid of much furniture, the Jewish congregants in Spain, the Maghreb (North Africa), Babylonia, the Land of Israel and Yemen having a custom to sit upon the floor, which had been strewn with mats and cushions, rather than upon chairs or benches. In other European towns and cities, however, Jewish congregants would sit upon chairs and benches.[12] Today, the custom has spread in all places to sit upon chairs and benches.

Until the 19th century, in an Ashkenazi synagogue, all seats most often faced the Torah Ark. In a Sephardic synagogue, seats were usually arranged around the perimeter of the sanctuary, but when the worshipers stood up to pray, everyone faced the Ark.

Special seats

Many current synagogues have an elaborate chair named for the prophet Elijah, which is only sat upon during the ceremony of Brit milah.[13]

In ancient synagogues, a special chair placed on the wall facing Jerusalem and next to the Torah Shrine was reserved for the prominent members of the congregation and for important guests.[14] This might be what Jesus referred to as the "seat of Moses" or "chair of Moses" (Matthew 23:2-3), or is mentioned as the "chief seats in the synagogues" elsewhere in the Gospels (Luke 11:43, 20:46; Matthew 23:6 etc.).[14] Such a stone-carved and inscribed seat was discovered at archaeological excavations in the synagogue at Chorazin in Galilee and dates from the 4th–6th century;[15] another one was discovered at the Delos Synagogue, complete with a footstool, reminiscent of James 2:1–6: "... you say to the poor man, “You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool.”"[14]

Rules for attendees

Taking off one's shoes

In Yemen, the Jewish custom was to take-off one's shoes immediately prior to entering the synagogue, a custom that had been observed by Jews in other places in earlier times.[16] Today, the custom of removing one's shoes is no longer practiced in Israel.

Gender separation

Orthodox synagogues feature a partition (mechitza) dividing the men's and women's seating areas, or a separate women's section located on a balcony.

Denominational differences

Reform Judaism

The German-Jewish Reform movement, which arose in the early 19th century, made many changes to the traditional look of the synagogue, keeping with its desire to simultaneously stay Jewish yet be accepted by the host culture.

The first Reform synagogue, which opened in Hamburg in 1811, introduced changes that made the synagogue look more like a church. These included: the installation of an organ to accompany the prayers (even on Shabbat, when musical instruments are proscribed by halakha), a choir to accompany the hazzan, and vestments for the synagogue rabbi to wear.[17]

In following decades, the central reader's table, the Bimah, was moved to the front of the Reform sanctuary—previously unheard-of in Orthodox synagogues.

Gender separation was also removed.

Synagogue as community center

Synagogues often take on a broader role in modern Jewish communities and may include additional facilities such as a catering hall, kosher kitchen, religious school, library, day care center and a smaller chapel for daily services.

Synagogue offshoots

Since many Orthodox and some non-Orthodox Jews prefer to collect a minyan (a quorum of ten) rather than pray alone, they commonly assemble at pre-arranged times in offices, living rooms, or other spaces when these are more convenient than formal synagogue buildings. A room or building that is used this way can become a dedicated small synagogue or prayer room. Among Ashkenazi Jews they are traditionally called shtiebel (שטיבל, pl. shtiebelekh or shtiebels, Yiddish for "little house"), and are found in Orthodox communities worldwide.

Another type of communal prayer group, favored by some contemporary Jews, is the Chavurah (חבורה, pl. chavurot, חבורות), or prayer fellowship. These groups meet at a regular place and time, either in a private home or in a synagogue or other institutional space. In antiquity, the Pharisees lived near each other in chavurot and dined together to ensure that none of the food was unfit for consumption.[18]

List of "great synagogues"

Some synagogues bear the title "great synagogue".

Israel

Europe

Russia, Ukraine and Belarus

Poland

Czech Republic

Hungary

Szegedzsinagoga2
Interior of the Synagogue of Szeged

Austria

Germany

Netherlands

Scandinavia

France and Belgium

Italy

Romania

Bulgaria and former Yugoslavia

[1] [20]

Turkey (European part)

North Africa

Australia

World's largest synagogues

Belz World Center Inside
Interior of the Belz Great Synagogue in Jerusalem.

Israel

  • The largest synagogue in the world is probably the Belz Great Synagogue, in Jerusalem, Israel, whose main sanctuary seats up to 10,000. Construction on the edifice lasted for over 15 years.
  • Kehilat Kol HaNeshama, a Reform synagogue located in Baka, Jerusalem, is the largest Reform (and largest non-Orthodox) Jewish synagogue in Israel.[21]

Europe

North America

World's oldest synagogues

Sardis Synagogue courtyard
The Sardis Synagogue in Manisa, Turkey. The synagogue was a section of a large bath-gymnasium complex, which was in use for 450–500 years.
Duraeuropa-1-
Fresco at the Dura-Europos synagogue, illustrating a scene from the Book of Esther, 244 CE.
  • The oldest synagogue fragments are stone-carved synagogue dedication inscriptions found in Middle and Lower Egypt and dating from the 3rd century BCE.[3]
  • The oldest Samaritan synagogue, the Delos Synagogue, dates from between 150 and 128 BCE, or earlier and is located on the island of Delos.[25]
  • The synagogue of Dura Europos, a Seleucid city in north eastern Syria, dates from the third century CE. It is unique. The walls were painted with figural scenes from the Old Testament. The paintings included Abraham and Isaac, Moses and Aaron, Solomon, Samuel and Jacob, Elijah and Ezekiel. The synagogue chamber, with its surviving paintings, is reconstructed in the National Museum in Damascus.
  • The Old Synagogue in Erfurt, Germany, parts of which date to c.1100, is the oldest intact synagogue building in Europe. It is now used as a museum of local Jewish history.
  • The Paradesi Synagogue is the oldest synagogue in the Commonwealth of Nations, located in Kochi, Kerala, in India. It was built in 1568 by the Malabar Yehudan people or Cochin Jewish community in the Kingdom of Cochin. Paradesi is a word used in several Indian languages, and the literal meaning of the term is "foreigners", applied to the synagogue because it was historically used by "White Jews", a mixture of Jews from Cranganore, the Middle East, and European exiles. It is also referred to as the Cochin Jewish Synagogue or the Mattancherry Synagogue. The synagogue is located in the quarter of Old Cochin known as Jew Town and is the only one of the seven synagogues in the area still in use.
  • Jew's Court, Steep Hill, Lincoln, England, is arguably the oldest synagogue in Europe in current use.

Oldest synagogues in the United States

Sinagoga-kahal-zur-israel-recife
The Kahal Zur Israel Synagogue (1636), located in Recife on the site of the oldest synagogue in the Americas.
Emanuel de Witte 002
Painting of the interior of the Portuguese Synagogue (Amsterdam) by Emanuel de Witte (c. 1680)

Other famous synagogues

  • The Worms Synagogue in Germany, built in 1175 and razed on Kristallnacht in 1938, was painstakingly reconstructed using many of the original stones. It is still in use as a synagogue.
  • The Synagogue of El Transito of Toledo, Spain, was built in 1356 by Samuel ha-Levi, treasurer of King Pedro I of Castile. This is one of the best examples of Mudéjar architecture in Spain. The design of the synagogue recalls the Nasrid style of architecture that was employed during the same period in the decorations of the palace of the Alhambra in Granada as well as the Mosque of Córdoba. Since 1964, this site has hosted a Sephardi museum.
  • The Hurva Synagogue, located in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, was Jerusalem's main Ashkenazi synagogue from the 16th century until 1948, when it was destroyed by the Arab Legion several days after the conquest of the city. After the Six-Day War, an arch was built to mark the spot where the synagogue stood. A complete reconstruction, to plans drawn up by architect Nahum Meltzer, opened in March 2010.
  • The Abdallah Ibn Salam Mosque or Oran, Algeria, built in 1880, but converted into a mosque in 1975 when most Algerian Jews had left the country for France following independence.
  • The Nidhe Israel Synagogue ("Bridgetown Synagogue") of Barbados, located in the capital city of Bridgetown, was first built in 1654. It was destroyed in the hurricane of 1831 and reconstructed in 1833.[26]
  • The Curaçao synagogue or Snoa in Willemstad, Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles was built by Sephardic Portuguese Jews from Amsterdam and Recife, Brazil. It is modeled after the Esnoga in Amsterdam. Congregation Mikvé Israel built this synagogue in 1692; it was reconstructed in 1732.
  • The Bialystoker Synagogue on New York's Lower East Side, is located in a landmark building dating from 1826 that was originally a Methodist Episcopal Church. The building is made of quarry stone mined locally on Pitt Street, Manhattan. It is an example of federal architecture. The ceilings and walls are hand-painted with zodiac frescos, and the sanctuary is illuminated by 40-foot (12.19 m) stained glass windows. The bimah and floor-to-ceiling ark are handcarved.
  • The Great Synagogue of Florence, Tempio Maggiore, Florence, 1874–82, is an example of the magnificent, cathedral-like synagogues built in almost every major European city in the 19th century and early 20th century.
  • Boston's 1920 Vilna Shul is a rare surviving intact Immigrant Era synagogue.[27]
  • The Congregation Or Hatzafon "Light of the North", Fairbanks, Alaska, is the world's northern most synagogue building.[28]

Image gallery

Alte Synagoge Erfurt

The Old Synagogue (Erfurt) is the oldest intact synagogue building in Europe

GerardDoustraatSynagogue

The Synagogue in the Gerard Doustraat in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Basler Synagoge(ws) retouched

The Great Synagogue of Basel in Basel, Switzerland.

SynagogueSantiago

The Great Synagogue of Santiago, Chile.

Frankfurt Hauptsynagoge 1885

The main synagogue of the city of Frankfurt am Main (Germany) before the Kristallnacht.

Synagoga Bobowa

The Bobowa Synagogue in Bobowa, Poland.

Sinagoga Kadoorie10

Kadoorie Synagogue in Porto, Portugal. The largest synagogue in the Iberian Peninsula.

Besht Shul1 Medzhibozh

The Baal Shem Tov's shul in Medzhybizh, Ukraine (c. 1915), destroyed and recently rebuilt.

Belz hasidic synagogue

The Belzer synagogue of Belz, Ukraine. It no longer exists.

Kherson-Synagogue01

The synagogue of Kherson, Ukraine.

Hurva synagogue

The Hurva Synagogue towered over the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem from 1864 until 1948, when it was destroyed in war

Hakhurba-synagogue01m

The remains of the Hurva Synagogue as they appeared from 1977 to 2003. The synagogue has been rebuilt in 2010.

Istanbul Ashkenazi Sinagogue Interior

The Ashkenazi Synagogue of Istanbul, Turkey, founded in 1900

Karaite synagogue cali

The interior of a Karaite synagogue

Székesfehérvár synogogue

Székesfehérvár Neolog synagogue, Hungary (1869; photo: c. 1930s). It no longer exists, however, the memorial plaques were moved to a building at the city's Jewish cemetery.

Sofia Synagogue

Sofia Synagogue, Bulgaria

Caravan shul interior

Interior of a "caravan shul" (synagogue housed in a trailer-type facility), Neve Yaakov, Jerusalem

Ohev Sholom - The National Synagogue

The Ohev Sholom Talmud Torah, the National Synagogue (opened 1960), mid-century building with expressionist overtones; Washington, D.C.

RoyLindmanBethYaakovSynagogueGeneva 001

Beth Yaakov Synagogue, Switzerland

ASCALON STUDIOS, David Ascalon, Lincoln Square Synagogue Ark New York

Sanctuary ark, Lincoln Square Synagogue, New York City (2013), created by David Ascalon

Synagogue, Szombathely, Hungary

Synagogue, Szombathely, Hungary

Bevis Marks Synagogue 01

Bevis Marks Synagogue, City of London, the oldest synagogue in the United Kingdom

Old new synagogue in Prague - inside

Gothic interior of the 13th-century Old New Synagogue of Prague

See also

References

  1. ^ Judaism 101: Synagogues, Shuls and Temples. Jewfaq.org.
  2. ^ a b Donald D. Binder. "Second Temple Synagogues".
  3. ^ a b Donald D. Binder. "Egypt".
  4. ^ Schiffman, Lawrence (March 1991). From Text to Tradition: A History of Second Temple and Rabbinic Judaism (1st ed.). Ktav Pub Inc. p. 159. ISBN 0881253723.
  5. ^ Schiffman, Lawrence (March 1991). From Text to Tradition: A History of Second Temple and Rabbinic Judaism (1st ed.). Ktav Pub Inc. p. 164. ISBN 0881253723.
  6. ^ Schiffman, Lawrence (March 1991). From Text to Tradition: A History of Second Temple and Rabbinic Judaism (1st ed.). Ktav Pub Inc. p. 164. ISBN 0881253723.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa Pummer, Reinhard. "How to Tell a Samaritan Synagogue from a Jewish Synagogue". Biblical Archaeology Review. May/June 1998 (24:03) – via Center for Online Judaic Studies, cojs.org.
  8. ^ Skarsaune, Oskar (2008). In the Shadow of the Temple: Jewish Influences on Early Christianity. IVP Academic. p. 186. Retrieved 1 September 2018. 9780830828449
  9. ^ Taylor, Joan E. (1993). Christians and the Holy Places: The Myth of Jewish-Christian Origins. Clarendon Press. p. 338. ISBN 9780198147855. Retrieved 1 September 2018.
  10. ^ Emmett, Chad Fife (1995). Beyond the Basilica: Christians and Muslims in Nazareth. University of Chicago Geography Research Papers (Book 237). University of Chicago Press. p. 22. ISBN 978-0-226-20711-7. Retrieved 1 September 2018.
  11. ^ "Ner Tamid: The Eternal Light." Chabad. 28 August 2018.
  12. ^ Maimonides, Mishne Torah (Hil. Tefillah 11:4), who wrote: "Synagogues and houses of study must be treated with respect. They are swept and sprinkled to lay the dust. In Spain and in the Maghreb (North Africa), in Babylon and in the Holy Land, it is customary to kindle lamps in the synagogues and to spread mats on the floor on which the worshipers sit. In the land of Edom (i.e. Christian countries) they sit in synagogues upon chairs."
  13. ^ Zaklikowski, David. "The Chair of Elijah and Welcoming the Baby". Chabad.org. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  14. ^ a b c The Interactive Bible, Synagogue Moses' Seat: Metaphor of Pride
  15. ^ Israel Museum, Elaborate seat, Chorazin synagogue
  16. ^ Joseph Kafih, Jewish Life in Sanà, Ben-Zvi Institute: Jerusalem 1982, p. 64 (note 3) ISBN 965-17-0137-4. There, Rabbi Kafih recalls the following story in the Jerusalem Talmud (Baba Metzi'a 2:8): “Yehudah, the son of Rebbe, entered a synagogue and left his sandals [outside], and they were stolen. He then said, 'Had I not gone to the synagogue, my sandals would not have gone-off.'” The custom of never entering a synagogue while wearing one's shoes is also mentioned in the Cairo Geniza manuscripts: "While he is yet outside, let him take-off his shoes or sandals from his feet and then enter barefoot, since such is the way of servants to walk barefoot before their lords... We have a minor sanctuary, and we are required to behave with sanctity and fear [in it], as it says: And you shall fear my hallowed place." (v. Halakhot Eretz Yisrael min ha-Geniza [The Halacha of the Land of Israel from the Geniza], ed. Mordechai Margaliot, Mossad Harav Kook: Jerusalem 1973, pp. 131–132; Taylor-Schechter New Series 135, Cambridge University Library / Oxford MS. 2700).
  17. ^ Rabbi Ken Spiro. "Crash Course in Jewish History Part 54 - Reform Movement", Aish.com
  18. ^ Alan F. Segal, Rebecca's Children: Judaism and Christianity in the Roman World, Harvard University Press, 1986, 125.
  19. ^ 1340 seats, the synagogue is 48 meters long, 35 meters wide, and 48.6 meters high.
  20. ^ https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1CHWA_enUS622US622&biw=1366&bih=577&tbm=isch&sa=1&ei=K5XrW-H2CpHe8AOhjayIAQ&q=ashkenazi+synagogue&oq=ashkenazi+synagogue&gs_l=img.3..35i39j0j0i67j0i5i30j0i24l6.60194.62090..63851...0.0..0.393.2130.0j2j6j1......1....1..gws-wiz-img.......0i30.9YSLBbY7Icg#imgdii=rKClV7ASC0CzpM:&imgrc=RxMdks_k2QhNbM:
  21. ^ Nathan Jeffay (January 12, 2011). "The Heart of Israel's Reform Judaism". The Forward.
  22. ^ Kulish, Nicholas (30 December 2007). "Out of Darkness, New Life". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-03-12.
  23. ^ Snyder, S. C. (2008). Acculturation and Particularism in the Modern City: Synagogue Building and Jewish Identity in Northern Europe. University of Michigan. ISBN 9780549818977. Retrieved 2014-12-07.
  24. ^ Rabbi Yitschak Rudomin. "Rebbes, Hasidim, and Authentic Kehillahs". The Second World War and Jewish Education in America: The Fall and Rise of Orthodoxy. Jewish Professionals Institute (JPI).
  25. ^ Donald D. Binder. "Delos".
  26. ^ "Nidhe Israel Synagogue". planetware.
  27. ^ Vilna Shul
  28. ^ "Congregation Or HaTzafon". mosquitonet.com. Archived from the original on 2014-09-20. Retrieved 2014-12-07.
  • Levine, Lee (2005) [1999]. The Ancient Synagogue: The First Thousand Years (2nd. ed.). New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-10628-9.
  • Young, Penny (2014). Dura Europos: A City for Everyman. Diss, Norfolk: Twopenny Press. ISBN 9780956170347.

External links

Bevis Marks Synagogue

Bevis Marks Synagogue, officially Qahal Kadosh Sha'ar ha-Shamayim (Hebrew: קָהָל קָדוֹשׁ שַׁעַר הַשָׁמַיִם, "Holy Congregation Gate of Heaven"), is the oldest synagogue in the United Kingdom in continuous use. It is located off Bevis Marks, in the City of London.

The synagogue was built in 1701 and is affiliated to London's historic Spanish and Portuguese Jewish community. It is a Grade I listed building. It is the only synagogue in Europe which has held regular services continuously for more than 300 years.

Capernaum

Capernaum ( kə-PUR-nee-əm, -⁠nay-əm; Hebrew: כְּפַר נַחוּם‎, translit. Kfar Naḥūm, lit. 'Nahum's village'; Arabic: كفر ناحوم‎, translit. Kafr Nāḥūm) was a fishing village established during the time of the Hasmoneans, located on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. It had a population of about 1,500. Archaeological excavations have revealed two ancient synagogues built one over the other. A house turned into a church by the Byzantines is said to be the home of Saint Peter.

The village was inhabited continuously from the 2nd century BC to the 11th century AD, when it was abandoned sometime before the Crusader conquest. This includes the re-establishment of the village during the Early Islamic period soon after the 749 earthquake.

Cochin Jews

Cochin Jews or Malabar Jews or Kochinim (from Hebrew: יהודי קוצ'ין Yehudey Kochin), are the oldest group of Jews in India, with possible roots that are claimed to date back to the time of King Solomon. The Cochin Jews settled in the Kingdom of Cochin in South India, now part of the state of Kerala. As early as the 12th century, mention is made of the Jews in southern India. The Jewish traveler Benjamin of Tudela, speaking of Kollam (Quilon) on the Malabar Coast, writes in his Itinerary: "...throughout the island, including all the towns thereof, live several thousand Israelites. The inhabitants are all black, and the Jews also. The latter are good and benevolent. They know the law of Moses and the prophets, and to a small extent the Talmud and Halacha." These people later became known as the Malabari Jews. They built synagogues in Kerala beginning in the 12th and 13th centuries. They are known to have developed Judeo-Malayalam, a dialect of Malayalam language.

Following their expulsion from Iberia in 1492 by the Alhambra Decree, a few families of Sephardi Jews eventually made their way to Cochin in the 16th century. They became known as Paradesi Jews (or Foreign Jews). The European Jews maintained some trade connections to Europe, and their language skills were useful. Although the Sephardim spoke Ladino (i. e., Spanish or Judeo-Spanish), in India they learned Judeo-Malayalam from the Malabar Jews. The two communities retained their ethnic and cultural distinctions. In the late 19th century, a few Arabic-speaking Jews, who became known as Baghdadi, also immigrated to southern India, and joined the Paradesi community.After India gained its independence in 1947 and Israel was established as a nation, most of the Malabar Jews made Aliyah and emigrated from Kerala to Israel in the mid-1950s.

In contrast, most of the Paradesi Jews (Sefardi in origin) preferred to migrate to Australia and other Commonwealth countries, similar to the choices made by Anglo-Indians.Most of their synagogues are still existing in Kerala, whereas a few were sold or adapted for other uses.

Among the 8 synagogues that had survived till the middle of 20th century, only the Paradesi synagogue still has a regular congregation and also attracts tourists as a historic site.

Another synagogue at Ernakulam operates partly as a shop by one of few remaining Cochin Jews. A few synagogues are in ruins and one was even demolished and a two-storeyed house was built in its place.

The synagogue at Chendamangalam (Chennamangalam) was reconstructed in 2006 as Kerala Jews Life Style Museum.

The synagogue at Paravur (Parur) has been reconstructed as Kerala Jews History Museum.

Dohány Street Synagogue

The Dohány Street Synagogue (Hungarian: Dohány utcai zsinagóga / nagy zsinagóga; Hebrew: בית הכנסת הגדול של בודפשט, Bet ha-Knesset ha-Gadol shel Budapesht), also known as the Great Synagogue or Tabakgasse Synagogue, is a historical building in Erzsébetváros, the 7th district of Budapest, Hungary. It is the largest synagogue in Europe, seating 3,000 people and is a centre of Neolog Judaism.

The synagogue was built between 1854 and 1859 in the Moorish Revival style, with the decoration based chiefly on Islamic models from North Africa and medieval Spain (the Alhambra). The synagogue's Viennese architect, Ludwig Förster, believed that no distinctively Jewish architecture could be identified, and thus chose "architectural forms that have been used by oriental ethnic groups that are related to the Israelite people, and in particular the Arabs". The interior design is partly by Frigyes Feszl.

The Dohány Street Synagogue complex consists of the Great Synagogue, the Heroes' Temple, the graveyard, the Memorial and the Jewish Museum, which was built on the site on which Theodor Herzl's house of birth stood. Dohány Street itself, a leafy street in the city center, carries strong Holocaust connotations as it constituted the border of the Budapest Ghetto.

Great Synagogue (Gibraltar)

The Great Synagogue of Gibraltar, also known as Kahal Kadosh Sha'ar HaShamayim (Hebrew: קהל קדוש שער השמיים‎), is located in the British overseas territory of Gibraltar, and was the first synagogue on the Iberian Peninsula to operate since the expulsions from Spain and Portugal in 1492 and 1497 respectively.

Hazzan

A hazzan (; Hebrew: [χaˈzan]) or chazzan (Hebrew: חַזָּן ḥazzān, plural ḥazzānim; Yiddish khazn; Ladino hassan) is a Jewish musician or precentor trained in the vocal arts who helps lead the congregation in songful prayer. In English, this prayer leader is often referred to as cantor, a term also used in Christianity.

History of the Jews in Indonesia

The history of the Jews in Indonesia began with the arrival of early European explorers and settlers, and the first Jews arrived in the 17th century. Most of Indonesian Jews arrived from the Netherlands, Middle East, Northern Africa and Southern Europe. Jews in Indonesia presently form a very small Jewish community of about 100-500, of mostly Sephardi Jews. Judaism is not recognized as one of the country’s six official religions and members of the local Jewish community have to register as Christian or another recognized religion on their official identity cards.

Hurva Synagogue

The Hurva Synagogue, (Hebrew: בית הכנסת החורבה, translit: Beit ha-Knesset ha-Hurva, lit. "The Ruin Synagogue"), also known as Hurvat Rabbi Yehudah he-Hasid ("Ruin of Rabbi Judah the Pious"), is a historic synagogue located in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem.

The synagogue was founded in the early 18th century by followers of Judah heHasid, but it was destroyed by Muslims a few years later in 1721. The plot lay in ruins for over 140 years and became known as the Ruin, or Hurva. In 1864, the Perushim rebuilt the synagogue, and although officially named the Beis Yaakov Synagogue, it retained its name as the Hurva. It became Jerusalem's main Ashkenazic synagogue, until it too was deliberately destroyed by the Arab Legion after the withdrawal of Israeli forces during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War.After Israel captured East Jerusalem from Jordan in 1967, a number of plans were submitted for the design of a new building. After years of deliberation and indecision, a commemorative arch was erected instead at the site in 1977, itself becoming a prominent landmark of the Jewish Quarter. The plan to rebuild the synagogue in its 19th-century style received approval by the Israeli Government in 2000, and the newly rebuilt synagogue was dedicated on March 15, 2010.

Moorish Revival architecture

Moorish Revival or Neo-Moorish is one of the exotic revival architectural styles that were adopted by architects of Europe and the Americas in the wake of the Romanticist fascination with all things oriental. It reached the height of its popularity after the mid-19th century, part of a widening vocabulary of articulated decorative ornament drawn from historical sources beyond familiar classical and Gothic modes.

National Register of Historic Places listings in Sullivan County, New York

List of the National Register of Historic Places listings in Sullivan County, New York

This is intended to be a complete list of properties and districts listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Sullivan County, New York. The locations of National Register properties and districts showing latitude and longitude coordinates may be seen in a map by clicking on "Map of all coordinates". The Delaware and Hudson Canal, which runs through this and other counties, is further designated a U.S. National Historic Landmark.

This National Park Service list is complete through NPS recent listings posted April 12, 2019.

Pittsburgh synagogue shooting

The Pittsburgh synagogue shooting was a mass shooting that occurred at the Tree of Life – Or L'Simcha Congregation in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on October 27, 2018, while Shabbat morning services were being held. Eleven people were killed and seven were injured. It was the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the United States.The sole suspect, 46-year-old Robert Gregory Bowers, was arrested and charged with 63 federal crimes, some of which are capital crimes. He has pleaded not guilty. He separately faces 36 charges in Pennsylvania state court. Using the online social network Gab, Bowers had earlier posted anti-Semitic comments against the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) in which Dor Hadash and Tree of Life were supporting participants. Referring to Central American migrant caravans and immigrants, he posted on Gab shortly before the attack that "HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can't sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I'm going in."Some sources argued that the incident should be referred to as an act of domestic terrorism.

Richmond Synagogue

Richmond Synagogue is an Orthodox Jewish community in Richmond, London. The congregation, whose synagogue building is in Lichfield Gardens, has 250 members and is a member community of the United Synagogue.

Romaniote Jews

The Romaniote Jews or Romaniotes (Greek: Ῥωμανιῶτες, Rhōmaniṓtes; Hebrew: רומניוטים, Romanyotim) are an ethnic Jewish community native to the Eastern Mediterranean. They are generally one of the oldest Jewish communities in existence and specifically the oldest Jewish community in Europe. Their distinct language was Judaeo-Greek, a Greek dialect that contained Hebrew along with some Aramaic and Turkish words but now speak modern Greek or the languages of their new home countries. They derived their name from the old name for the people of the Byzantine Empire, Romaioi. Large communities were located in Thebes, Ioannina, Chalcis, Corfu, Arta, Preveza, Volos, Patras, Corinth, and on the islands of Zakynthos, Lesbos, Chios, Samos, Rhodes, and Cyprus, among others. The Romaniotes are historically distinct and still remain distinct from the Sephardim, who settled in Ottoman Greece after the 1492 expulsion of the Jews from Spain.

A majority of the Jewish population of Greece was killed in the Holocaust after Axis powers occupied Greece during World War II. They deported most of the Jews to Nazi concentration camps. After the war, a majority of the survivors emigrated to Israel, the United States, and Western Europe. Today there are still functioning Romaniote Synagogues in Chalkis which represents the oldest Jewish congregation on European ground, in Ioannina, Athens, New York and Israel.

Skokie, Illinois

Skokie (; formerly Niles Center) is a village in Cook County, Illinois, United States, neighboring the City of Chicago’s northern border. Skokie lies approximately 15 miles north of Chicago's downtown loop. Its name comes from a Potawatomi word for "marsh." For many years Skokie promoted itself as "The World's Largest Village." Its population, according to the 2010 census, was 64,784. Skokie's streets, like that of many suburbs, are largely a continuation of the Chicago street grid, and the village is served by the Chicago Transit Authority, further cementing its connection to the city.

Skokie was originally a German-Luxembourger farming community, but was later settled by a sizeable Jewish population, especially after World War II. At its peak in the mid-1960s, 58% of the population was Jewish, the largest percentage of any Chicago suburb. In recent years, several synagogues and Jewish schools have closed. However, Skokie still has a very large Jewish population and an active Chabad. It is home to the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, which opened in northwest Skokie in 2009.

Skokie has received national attention twice for court cases decided by the United States Supreme Court. In the mid-1970s, it was at the center of a case concerning the First Amendment right to assemble and the National Socialist Party of America, a neo-Nazi group. Skokie ultimately lost that case. In 2001, although Skokie was not a direct party to the case, a decision by the village regarding land use led the court to reduce the power of the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

Torah ark

The ark in a synagogue (also called the Torah ark or holy ark) is a receptacle, or ornamental closet, which contains each synagogue's Torah scrolls (Sifrei Torah in Hebrew), also known as Heikhal in some Jewish dialects.

Triptych

A triptych ( TRIP-tik; from the Greek adjective τρίπτυχον "triptukhon" ("three-fold"), from tri, i.e., "three" and ptysso, i.e., "to fold" or ptyx, i.e., "fold") is a work of art (usually a panel painting) that is divided into three sections, or three carved panels that are hinged together and can be folded shut or displayed open. It is therefore a type of polyptych, the term for all multi-panel works. The middle panel is typically the largest and it is flanked by two smaller related works, although there are triptychs of equal-sized panels. The form can also be used for pendant jewelry.

Despite its connection to an art format, the term is sometimes used more generally to connote anything with three parts, particularly if they are integrated into a single unit.

United Synagogue

The United Synagogue (US) is a union of British Orthodox Jewish synagogues, representing the central Orthodox movement in Judaism. With 64 congregations, comprising 40,000 members, it is the largest synagogue body in Europe. The spiritual leader of the union bears the title of Chief Rabbi of Britain and the Empire – a title that bears some formal recognition by the Crown, even though his rabbinical authority is recognised by only slightly more than half of British Jews.

United Synagogue Youth

United Synagogue Youth (USY) is the youth movement of USCJ (United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism).The organization was founded in 1951, under the auspices of the Youth Commission of what was then the United Synagogue of America.USY operates in the United States and Canada, with 350 chapters across 16 regions. Kadima (Hebrew for "Forward") is USY's program for pre-teens grades 5-8 (varies by region).

United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism

The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ) is the major congregational organization of Conservative Judaism in North America, and the largest Conservative Jewish communal body in the world. USCJ closely works with the Rabbinical Assembly, the international body of Conservative rabbis. It coordinates and assists the activities of its member communities on all levels.

History
Population
Philosophy
Schisms
Literature
Culture
Studies

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.