HOME

TheInfoList




A synagogue, ', 'house of assembly', or ', "house of prayer";
Yiddish Yiddish (, or , ''yidish'' or ''idish'', , ; , ''Yidish-Taytsh'', ) is a West Germanic The West Germanic languages constitute the largest of the three branches of the Germanic languages, Germanic family of languages (the others being the ...
: ''shul'', Ladino: ', 'bright as fire'; or '. also called a shul or temple, is a
Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Israeli pronunciation ) or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and nation originating from the Israelites Israelite origins and kingdom: "The first act in the long drama of Jewish history is ...
house of worship A place of worship is a specially designed structure or space where individuals or a group of people such as a wikt:congregation, congregation come to perform acts of devotion, veneration, or religious study. A building constructed or used for t ...

house of worship
. The term "synagogue" is also occasionally used to describe a
Samaritan Samaritans (; ; he, שומרונים, translit=Shomronim; ar, السامريون, translit=as-Sāmiriyyūn) or Samaritan people are members of an ethnoreligious group originating from the Israelites of historical History of ancient Israel a ...
house of worship. Synagogues have a place for prayer (the main
sanctuary violates Cassandra Cassandra or Kassandra (Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divid ...

sanctuary
) and may also have rooms for study, a social hall, and offices. Some have a separate room for
Torah study Torah study is the study of the Torah Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") has a range of meanings. It can most specifically mean the first five books (Pentateuch or Five Books of Moses) of the Hebrew Bibl ...
called a ''
beth midrash A ''beth midrash'' ( he, בית מדרש, or ''beis medrash'', ''beit midrash'', pl. ''batei midrash'' "House of Learning") is hall dedicated for Torah study, often translated as a "study hall." It is distinct from a synagogue (''beth knesset'' ...
''. Synagogues are
consecrated Consecration is the solemn dedication to a special purpose or service. The word ''consecration'' literally means "association with the sacred". Persons, places, or things can be consecrated, and the term is used in various ways by different group ...

consecrated
spaces used for the purpose of
Jewish prayer Jewish prayer ( he, תְּפִלָּה, ; plural ; yi, תּפֿלה, tfile , plural ; : davening from Yiddish 'pray') is the recitation that forms part of the observance of . These prayers, often with instructions and commentary, ar ...
, study, assembly, and reading of the
Tanakh The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, ...
(the entire Hebrew Bible, including the
Torah The Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") includes the first five books of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Heb ...

Torah
). However, a synagogue is not necessary for Jewish worship. ''
Halakha ''Halakha'' (; he, הֲלָכָה, ), also transliterated Transliteration is a type of conversion of a text from one script Script may refer to: Writing systems * Script, a distinctive writing system, based on a repertoire of specific ...
'' (Jewish law) states that communal Jewish worship can be carried out wherever a ''
minyan In , a ''minyan'' ( he, מניין \ מִנְיָן ''minyán'' , (noun) ''count, number''; pl. ''minyaním'' ) is the of ten Jewish adults required for certain s. In more traditional streams of Judaism, only males 13 and older may constitu ...
'' (a group of at least 10 Jewish adults) is assembled. Worship can also happen alone or with fewer than 10 people, but ''halakha'' considers some prayers as solely communal, and these can therefore be recited only by a ''minyan''. In terms of its specific ritual and liturgical functions, the synagogue does not replace the long-destroyed
Temple in Jerusalem Two ancient Israelite The Israelites (; he, בני ישראל ''Bnei Yisra'el'') were a confederation of Iron Age ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, Semitic-speaking tribes of the ancient Near East, who inhabited a part of Canaan during the ...
.


Terminology

Israelis Israelis ( he, ישראלים, translit=Yiśraʾelim, ar, الإسرائيليين, translit=al-ʾIsrāʾīliyyin) are the citizens and nationals of the State of Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ...

Israelis
use the
Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as one of the spoken languages of the Israelites and their longest-survivi ...
term ' "house of assembly".
Ashkenazi Jews Ashkenazi Jews ( are a Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Israeli pronunciation ) or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and nation originating from the Israelites Israelite origins and kingdom: "The first act in ...
have traditionally used the
Yiddish Yiddish (, or , ''yidish'' or ''idish'', , ; , ''Yidish-Taytsh'', ) is a West Germanic The West Germanic languages constitute the largest of the three branches of the Germanic languages, Germanic family of languages (the others being the ...

Yiddish
term ' (cognate with the
German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language The German la ...

German
, 'school') in everyday speech.
Sephardi Jews Sephardi Jews, also known as Sephardic Jews, ''Sephardim'',, Modern Hebrew: ''Sefaraddim'', Tiberian Hebrew, Tiberian: Səp̄āraddîm, also , ''Ye'hude Sepharad'', lit. "The Jews of Spain", es, Judíos sefardíes (or ), pt, Judeus sefarditas ...
and
Romaniote JewsRomaniote may refer to: *Romaniote JewsRomaniote may refer to: * Romaniote Jews * Yevanic language, the language of the Romaniote Jews {{disambiguation Language and nationality disambiguation pages ... *Yevanic language Yevanic, also known as Judæ ...
generally use the term ''kal'' (from the Hebrew ''Ḳahal'', meaning "community").
Spanish Jews Spanish and Portuguese Jews, also called Western Sephardim, Iberian Jews, or Peninsular Jews are a distinctive sub-group of Sephardic Jews Sephardi Jews, also known as Sephardic Jews, ''Sephardim'',, Modern Hebrew: ''Sefaraddim'', Tiberi ...
call the synagogue an and Portuguese Jews call it a .
Persian Jews Persian Jews or Iranian Jews ( fa, یهودیان ایرانی, ''yahudiān-e-Irāni''; he, יהודים פרסים) are the descendants of Jews Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Israeli pronunciation ) or Jewish people are an ...
and some
Karaite Jews Karaite Judaism () or Karaism (; ; also spelt Qaraite Judaism or Qaraism) is a Jewish religious movement characterized by the recognition of the written Torah alone as its supreme authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is th ...
also use the term ''
kenesa Kenesa is the term for an East European Karaite or Persian Persian may refer to: * People and things from Iran, historically called ''Persia'' in the English language ** Persians, Persian people, the majority ethnic group in Iran, not to be conf ...
'', which is derived from
Aramaic Aramaic (Classical Syriac The Syriac language (; syc, / '), also known as Syriac Aramaic (''Syrian Aramaic'', ''Syro-Aramaic'') and Classical Syriac (in its literary and liturgical form), is an Aramaic Aramaic (Classical Syriac ...
, and some
Mizrahi Jews Mizrahi Jews ( he, יהודי המִזְרָח) or ''Mizrahim'' (), also sometimes referred to as Mizrachi (), Edot HaMizrach (; ) or Oriental Jews, are the descendants of the local Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2ISO ...
use ''kenis'' or ''Qnis''. Some
Reform Reform ( lat, reformo) means the improvement or amendment of what is wrong, corrupt, unsatisfactory, etc. The use of the word in this way emerges in the late 18th century and is believed to originate from Christopher Wyvill's Association movement ...
and Reconstructionist Jews use the word ''temple''. The
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
word ''synagogue'' is used in
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
to cover the preceding possibilities.


Origins

Although synagogues existed a long time before the destruction of the
Second Temple The Second Temple (, ), also known in its later years as Herod's Temple, was the reconstructed Jewish holy temple that stood on the Temple Mount The Temple Mount (Hebrew language, Hebrew: , ; "Mount of the House f God, i.e. the Temple in ...

Second Temple
in 70 CE, communal worship in the time while the Temple still stood focussed mostly on ''
korban In Judaism, the korban ( ''qorbān''), also spelled ''qorban'' or ''corban'', is any of a variety of Sacrifice, sacrificial offerings described and commanded in the Torah. The plural form is korbanot, korbanoth or korbans. The term Korban pr ...
ot'' ("sacrificial offerings") brought by the ''
kohanim Kohen ( he, כֹּהֵן'','' "priest", pl. , ' "priests") is the Hebrew word for "priest A priest is a religious leader authorized to perform the Sacred rite, sacred rituals of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans ...
'' ("priests") in the
Temple in Jerusalem Two ancient Israelite The Israelites (; he, בני ישראל ''Bnei Yisra'el'') were a confederation of Iron Age ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, Semitic-speaking tribes of the ancient Near East, who inhabited a part of Canaan during the ...
. The all-day
Yom Kippur Yom Kippur (; he, יוֹם כִּיפּוּר, Yōm Kīpūr, , ; plural , ) is the holiest day of the year in Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semi ...
service, in fact, was an event in which the congregation both observed the movements of the ''kohen gadol'' ("
high priest The term “high priest” usually refers either to an individual who holds the office of monarch, ruler-priest, or to one who is the head of a religious caste. Ancient Egypt In ancient Egypt, a high priest was the chief priest of any of the many ...
") as he offered the day's sacrifices and prayed for his success. According to Jewish tradition, the men of the
Great AssemblyAccording to Jewish tradition the Men of the Great Assembly ( he, כְּנֶסֶת הַגְּדוֹלָה) or Anshei Knesset HaGedolah (, "The Men of the Great Assembly"), also known as the Great Synagogue, or ''Synod'', was an assembly of 120 scrib ...
(around 5th century BCE) 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 Yohanan ben Zakkai ( he, יוחנן בן זכאי, 1st century CE), sometimes abbreviated as Ribaz () for Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai, was one of the Tannaim, an important Jewish sage in the era of the Second Temple The Second Temple (, ''Bet Ha ...
, 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. 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. More than a dozen Jewish (and possibly
Samaritan Samaritans (; ; he, שומרונים, translit=Shomronim; ar, السامريون, translit=as-Sāmiriyyūn) or Samaritan people are members of an ethnoreligious group originating from the Israelites of historical History of ancient Israel a ...

Samaritan
) Second Temple era synagogues have been identified by archaeologists in
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a ...

Israel
and other countries belonging to the
Hellenistic The Hellenistic period spans the period of History of the Mediterranean region, Mediterranean history between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the Roman Empire, as signified by the Battle of Actium in 31  ...

Hellenistic
world. 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. 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 The First Jewish–Roman War (66–73 CE), sometimes called the Great Jewish Revolt ( he, המרד הגדול '), or The Jewish War, was the first of three major rebellions by the Jews Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Isra ...
; 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 had prepared the Jews for life in the diaspora, where prayer would serve as the focus of Jewish worship. 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 worshiped by way of prayer rather than sacrifices, which had previously served as the main form of worship within the Second Temple.


Second Temple

In 1995, Howard Lee Clark argued that synagogues were not a developed feature of Jewish life prior to the Roman-Jewish War of 70 CE. Kee interpreted his findings as evidence that the mentions of synagogues in the New Testament, including Jesus's visitations of synagogues in various Jewish settlements in Israel, were anachronistic. However, by 2018, Mordechai Aviam reported that there were now at least nine synagogues excavated known to pre-date the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in AD 70, including in Magdala, Gamla, Masada, Herodium, Modi‘in (Kh. Umm el-‘Umdan), Qiryat Sepher (Kh. Bad ‘Issa), and Kh. Diab. Aviam concluded that he thought almost every Jewish settlement at the time, whether it was a polis or a village, had a synagogue. *
Gamla Gamla, alt. sp. Gamala ( he, גַּמְלָא, The Camel) was an ancient Jewish city on the . It is believed to have been founded as a fort during the which was turned into a city under in 81 BCE. During the , it became an important strongho ...

Gamla
- a synagogue was discovered near the city gate at Gamla, a site in the Golan northeast of the Sea of Galilee. This city was destroyed by the Roman army in 67 CE and was never rebuilt. *
Masada Masada ( he, מצדה ', "fortress") is an ancient fortification in the Southern District (Israel), Southern District of Israel situated on top of an isolated rock plateau, akin to a mesa. It is located on the eastern edge of the Judaean Desert, ...

Masada
- a synagogue was discovered on the western side of Masada, just south of the palace complex at the northern end of the site. One of the unique finds at this synagogue was a group of 14 scrolls, which included biblical, sectarian, and apocryphal documents. *
Herodium Herodium (Latin) or Herodion ( grc, Ἡρώδειον, ar, هيروديون, he, הרודיון), also known as Har Hordus ("Mount Herodes") and Jabal al-Fureidis ( ar, جبل فريديس, lit. "Mountain of the Little Paradise") is a truncate ...

Herodium
- a synagogue from the 1st century was discovered in Herod's palace fortress at Herodium. *
Magdala Magdala (Aramaic language, Aramaic: מגדלא, ''Magdala'', meaning "tower"; Hebrew language, Hebrew: , ''Migdal''; ar, المجدل, ''al-Majdal'') was an ancient city on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, north of Tiberias. In the Babylonian Ta ...
- also known as the Migdal Synagogue, this synagogue was discovered in 2009. One of the unique features of this synagogue, which is located on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee, is an intricately carved stone
block Block or blocked may refer to: Arts, entertainment and media Broadcasting * Block programming, the result of a programming strategy in broadcasting * W242BX, a radio station licensed to Greenville, South Carolina, United States known as ''96.3 t ...
that was found in the center of the main room. * Modi'in - Discovered between
Modi'in Modi'in-Maccabim-Re'ut ( he, מוֹדִיעִין-מַכַּבִּים-רֵעוּת) is an Israeli city located in central Israel, about southeast of Tel Aviv and west of Jerusalem, and is connected to those two cities via Route 443 (Israel), H ...
and
Latrun Latrun ( he, לטרון, ''Latrun''; ar, اللطرون, ''al-Latrun'') is located at a strategic hilltop in the Latrun salient in the Ayalon Valley. It overlooks the road between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, 25 kilometers west of Jerusalem and 14 kilo ...

Latrun
is the oldest synagogue within modern Israel that has been found to date, built during the second century BCE. It includes three rooms and a nearby
mikve Mikveh or mikvah (,  ''mikva'ot'', ''mikvoth'', ''mikvot'', or (Yiddish Yiddish (, or , ''yidish'' or ''idish'', , ; , ''Yidish-Taytsh'', ) is a West Germanic The West Germanic languages constitute the largest of the three branch ...
. File:Gamla Synagogue (7).JPG, First century synagogue at Gamla File:Masada 051013 Synagogue 01.jpg, First century synagogue at Masada File:Magdala-588.jpg, First century synagogue at Magdala File:Herodion Synagogue IMG 0708.JPG, First century synagogue at Herodium


Middle Ages

Rabbi and philosopher,
Maimonides Moses ben Maimon ; (1138–1204), commonly known as Maimonides ( ) grc-gre, Μωυσής Μαϊμωνίδης ; la, Moses Maimonides and also referred to by the acronym Rambam ( he, רמב״ם),, for ''Rabbeinu Mōše bēn Maimun'', "Our Ra ...

Maimonides
(1138–1204), described the various customs in his day with respect to local synagogues:
Synagogues and houses of study must be treated with respect. They are swept and sprinkled ith waterto lay the dust. In
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...

Spain
and the
Maghreb The Maghreb (; ar, المغرب, al-Maghrib, lit=the west), also known as Northwest Africa, is the western part of North Africa and the Arab world. The region includes Algeria, Libya, Mauritania (also considered part of West Africa), Morocco and ...

Maghreb
, in
Babylonia Babylonia () was an and based in central-southern which was part of Ancient Persia (present-day and ). A small -ruled state emerged in 1894 BCE, which contained the minor administrative town of . It was merely a small provincial town dur ...
and in the
Holy Land The Holy Land (: , la, Terra Sancta; : or ) is an area roughly located between the and the Eastern Bank of the . Traditionally, it is synonymous both with the biblical and with the . The term "Holy Land" usually refers to a territory ro ...

Holy Land
, it is customary to kindle lamps in the synagogues and to spread mats on the floor upon which the worshippers sit. In the lands of Edom (Christendom), they sit in synagogues upon chairs r benches
File:Sepphoris (Tzippori) 290314 12.jpg, Mosaic in the Tzippori Synagogue File:Ruins of the Ancient Synagogue at Bar'am.jpg, Ruins of the ancient synagogue of Kfar Bar'am


Samaritan synagogues


Name and history

The Samaritan house of worship is also called a synagogue. During the 3rd and 2nd centuries BCE, during the Hellenistic period, the Greek word used in the
Diaspora A diaspora ( ) is a scattered population whose origin Origin(s) or The Origin may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Comics and manga * , a Wolverine comic book mini-series published by Marvel Comics in 2002 * , a 1999 ''Buffy th ...

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). The oldest Samaritan synagogue discovered so far is from
Delos The island of Delos (; el, Δήλος ; Attic Greek, Attic: , Doric Greek, Doric: ), near Mykonos, near the centre of the Cyclades archipelago, is one of the most important mythological, historical, and archaeological sites in Greece. The excava ...

Delos
in the
Aegean Islands The Aegean Islands ( el, Νησιά Αιγαίου, Nisiá Aigaíou; tr, Ege Adaları) are the group of islands in the Aegean Sea The Aegean Sea ; tr, Ege Denizi is an elongated Bay, embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located betwe ...
, with an inscription dated between 250 and 175 BCE, while most Samaritan synagogues excavated in the wider
Land of Israel The Land of Israel () is the traditional Jewish name for an area of indefinite geographical extension in the Southern Levant The Southern Levant is a geographical region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical ...

Land of Israel
and ancient
Samaria Samaria, , also known as , 'Nablus Mountains' () is a historical and biblical name used for the central region of the Land of Israel, bordered by Galilee to the north and Judaea to the south. For the beginning of the Common Era, Josephus set t ...

Samaria
in particular, were built during the 4th-7th centuries, at the very end of the Roman and throughout the Byzantine period.


Distinguishing elements

The elements which distinguish Samaritan synagogues from contemporary Jewish ones are: * Alphabet: the use of the Samaritan script * 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 The Samaritan Pentateuch, also known as the Samaritan Torah ( he, תורה שומרונית ''torah shomronit''), is a text of the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, written in the Samaritan script and used as Religious text, sacred scriptur ...
, for instance "forever" is written 'lmw instead of l'lm. When Greek is the language used in inscriptions, typically, Samaritans may contract two
Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as one of the spoken languages of the Israelites and their longest-survivi ...
words into one, such ''har'' (mountain) and Gerizim becoming, in Greek, ''Argarizein''. * Orientation: the façade, or entrance of the Samaritan synagogue, is typically facing towards
Mount Gerizim Mount Gerizim (; Samaritan Hebrew Samaritan Hebrew () is a reading tradition used liturgically by the Samaritans The Samaritans (; Samaritan Hebrew: , ' (, 'Guardians/Keepers/Watchers (of the Torah)'); he, שומרונים, ''Shomronim'' ...
, which is the most holy site to Samaritans, while Jewish synagogues would be oriented towards Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. * Decoration: the mosaic floor and other architectural elements or artifacts are sometimes decorated with typical symbols. 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. Representations of the signs of the zodiac, of human figures or even Greek deities such as the god
Helios Helios; Homeric Greek Homeric Greek is the form of the Greek language that was used by Homer in the ''Iliad'' and ''Odyssey'' and in the Homeric Hymns. It is a literary dialect of Ancient Greek consisting mainly of Ionic Greek, Ionic and Aeol ...

Helios
, as seen in Byzantine-period Jewish synagogues, would be unimaginable in Samaritan buildings of any period. :A representation of Mount Gerizim is a clear indication of Samaritan identity. 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. Religious implements, such as are also known from ancient Jewish synagogue mosaics ( menorah,
shofar A shofar ( ; from he, שׁוֹפָר, ) is an ancient musical Horn (instrument), horn typically made of a Ram (sheep), ram's horn (anatomy), horn, used for Judaism, Jewish religious purposes. Like the modern bugle, the shofar lacks pitch (mus ...

shofar
, shewbread table,
trumpet The trumpet is a brass instrument A brass instrument is a that produces sound by of air in a tubular in sympathy with the vibration of the player's lips. Brass instruments are also called labrosones or labrophones, from Latin and Greek ...

trumpet
s, incense shovels, and specifically the façade 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 According to the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; : , or ), is the of scriptures, including the , the , and the . These texts are almost exclusively in , with a few passages in (in the books of and , the verse 10:11, and som ...

Tabernacle
, the
Ark of the Covenant The Ark of the Covenant (Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, Judea ...

Ark of the Covenant
within the Tabernacle, or the in the synagogue itself. 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. 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. :Missing from Samaritan synagogue floors would be images often found in Jewish ones: the
lulav , with the ''lulav'' longest in the middle. ''Lulav'' (; he, לולב) is a closed frond of the date palm ''Phoenix dactylifera'', commonly known as date or date palm, is a flowering plant species in the palm family, Arecaceae, cultivated fo ...
(palm-branch) and
etrog Etrog ( he, אֶתְרוֹג, plural: '; Ashkenazi HebrewAshkenazi Hebrew ( he, הגייה אשכנזית, Hagiyya Ashkenazit, yi, אַשכּנזישע הבֿרה, Ashkenazishe Havara) is the pronunciation system for Biblical The Bible ...
(lemon-like fruit) have a different ritual use by Samaritans celebrating
Sukkot or ("Booths, Tabernacles") , observedby = Jew Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2International Organization for Standardization, ISO 259 is a series of international standards for the romanization of Hebrew, romanization of Heb ...

Sukkot
, and do not appear on mosaic floors. * Ritual baths near the synagogue after 70 CE: Jews abandoned the habit of building
mikva'ot Tractate Miqwaʾoth (Hebrew language, Hebrew: מקואות, lit. "Pools of Water"; in Talmudic Hebrew: ''Miqwaʾoth'') is a section of the Mishna discussing the laws pertaining to the building and maintenance of a mikvah, a Jewish ritual bath. Like ...

mikva'ot
next to their houses of worship after the 70 CE destruction of the
Jerusalem Temple The Temple in Jerusalem was any of a series of structures which were located on the Temple Mount The Temple Mount (Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afr ...

Jerusalem Temple
, but Samaritans continued with the practice.


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.


Diaspora

* Delos: a Samaritan inscription has been dated to between 250 and 175 BCE. *
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map_caption = The te ...

Rome
and Tarsus: ancient literature offers hints that Samaritan synagogues may have existed in these cities between the fourth and sixth centuries CE. *
Thessaloniki Thessaloniki (; el, Θεσσαλονίκη, ), also known as Thessalonica (), Saloniki or Salonica () is the second-largest city in Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in So ...

Thessaloniki
and
Syracuse Syracuse may refer to: Places Italy *Syracuse, Sicily Syracuse ( ; it, Siracusa , or scn, Seragusa, label=none ; lat, Syrācūsae ; grc-att, wikt:Συράκουσαι, Συράκουσαι, Syrákousai ; grc-dor, wikt:Συράκοσ ...

Syracuse
: short inscriptions found there and using the Samaritan and Greek alphabet may originate from Samaritan synagogues.


The wider Holy Land

*
Sha'alvim Sha'alvim ( he, שַׁעַלְבִים) is a religious kibbutz in central Israel and one of only two affiliated with Poalei Agudat Yisrael (Hafetz Haim being the other). Located near the city of Modi'in-Maccabim-Re'ut, it falls under the jurisdicti ...
synagogue, discovered in Judea, northwest of Jerusalem. Probably built in the 4th or 5th century CE and destroyed in the 5th or 6th. *
Tell Qasile Tell Qasile is an archaeology, archaeological site in Tel Aviv, Israel. Over 3,000 years old, the site contains the remains of a port city founded by the Philistines in the 12th century BC. It is located near the Yarkon River, on the grounds of t ...
synagogue, built at the beginning of the 7th century CE *
Beth Shean Beit She'an ( he, בֵּית שְׁאָן '), also known as Beisan ( ar, بيسان ), and historically known as Scythopolis (''Σκυθόπολις'' in Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancien ...
, "Synagogue A". A room added to an existing building in the late 6th or early 7th century CE served as a Samaritan synagogue.


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 * Khirbet Samara synagogue, c. 20 km northwest of
Nablus Nablus ( ; ar, نابلس, Nābulus ; he, שכם, Šəḵem, Biblical ''Shechem'', ISO 259-3 ''Škem''; el, Νεάπολις, Νeápolis) is a city in the northern West Bank, approximately north of Jerusalem (approximately by road), with a ...

Nablus
and built in the 4th century CE * Zur Natan synagogue, c. 29 km west of Nablus and built in the 5th century CE


Christianity

In the
New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; la, Novum Testamentum. (NT) is the second division of the Christian biblical canon. It discusses the teachings and person of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus, as ...

New Testament
, the word appears 56 times, mostly in the
Synoptic Gospels The gospel Gospel originally meant the Christian message ("the gospel#REDIRECT The gospel In Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testame ...
, but also in the
Gospel of John The Gospel according to John ( el, Εὐαγγέλιον κατὰ Ἰωάννην, translit=Euangélion katà Iōánnēn, also known as the Gospel of John, or simply John) is the fourth of the four canonical gospels. It contains a highly sc ...
() and the
Book of Revelation The Book of Revelation (also called the Apocalypse of John, Revelation to John or Revelation from Jesus Christ) is the final book of the New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; ...
(). It is used in the sense of 'assembly' in the
Epistle of James The Epistle of James, the Letter of James, or simply James ( grc, Ἰάκωβος, Iakōbos), is a General epistle The catholic epistles (also called the general epistlesEncarta-encyclopedie Winkler Prins (1993–2002) s.v. "katholieke brieven ...
(). Alternatively, the epistle of James, in Greek is clearly Ἰάκωβος or יעקב or anglicized to Jacob is place of assembly that was indeed Jewish and Jacob ben Joseph perhaps the elder. James (Jacob) 2:2 could easily be rendered "synagogue or συναγωγὴν". During the first Christian centuries,
Jewish Christian Jewish Christians ( he, יהודים נוצרים, yehudim notzrim) were the followers of a Jewish religious sect that emerged in Judea Judea or Judaea ( or ; from he, יהודה, Standard Standard may refer to: Flags * Colours, stand ...
are hypothesized to have 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 Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label=Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it ...

Jesus
as the
Messiah In Abrahamic religions, a messiah or messias (; , ; , ; ) is a salvation, saviour or liberator of a group of people. The concepts of ''Messiah in Judaism, mashiach'', Messianism#Judaism, messianism, and of a Messianic Age#Judaism, Messianic Ag ...
in Jerusalem and
Nazareth Nazareth ( ; ar, النَّاصِرَة, ''an-Nāṣira''; he, נָצְרַת, ''Nāṣəraṯ''; arc, ܢܨܪܬ, ''Naṣrath'') is the largest city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human ...

Nazareth
.


Architectural design

There is no set
blueprint A blueprint is a reproduction of a technical drawing or engineering drawing using a contact print process on light-sensitive sheets. Introduced by Sir John Herschel in 1842, the process allowed rapid and accurate production of an unlimited numbe ...

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 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 Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn ...

Eastern Roman Empire
. The surviving synagogues of medieval Spain are embellished with
mudéjar Mudéjar (, also , , ; ca, mudèjar ; from ar, مدجن, mudajjan, subjugated; tamed; domesticated) refers to the group of Muslims who remained in Iberia in the Late Middle Ages, late medieval period despite the Reconquista, Christian reconques ...
plasterwork. The surviving medieval synagogues in
Budapest Budapest (, ) is the capital and the List of cities and towns of Hungary, most populous city of Hungary, and the Largest cities of the European Union by population within city limits, ninth-largest city in the European Union by population with ...

Budapest
and
Prague Prague ( ; cs, Praha ; german: Prag, ; la, Praga) is the capital and largest city A city is a large human settlement In geography, statistics and archaeology, a settlement, locality or populated place is a community in which people ...

Prague
are typical
Gothic Gothic or Gothics may refer to: People and languages *Goths or Gothic people, the ethnonym of a group of East Germanic tribes **Gothic language, an extinct East Germanic language spoken by the Goths **Crimean Gothic, the Gothic language spoken by ...
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 Neoclassical or neo-classical may refer to: * Neoclassicism or New Classicism, any of a number of movements in the fine arts, literature, theatre, music, language, and architecture beginning in the 17th century ** Neoclassical architecture, an arc ...
, Neo-Byzantine,
Romanesque Revival Romanesque Revival (or Neo-Romanesque) is a style of building employed beginning in the mid-19th century inspired by the 11th- and 12th-century Romanesque architecture Romanesque architecture is an architectural style of Middle Ages, medieval ...
,
Moorish Revival , Brazil 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 Romanticism, Romanticist Orientalism, fascination with all things oriental. It r ...
,
Gothic Revival Gothic Revival (also referred to as Victorian Gothic, neo-Gothic, or Gothick) is an Architectural style, architectural movement that began in the late 1740s in England. The movement gained momentum and expanded in the first half of the 19th cent ...
, and
Greek Revival The Greek Revival was an architectural upright=1.45, alt=Plan d'exécution du second étage de l'hôtel de Brionne (dessin) De Cotte 2503c – Gallica 2011 (adjusted), Plan of the second floor (attic storey) of the Hôtel de Brionne in P ...
. There are
Egyptian Revival Interior of the Temple maçonnique des Amis philanthropes in Brussels, Belgium ">Belgium.html" ;"title="Brussels, Belgium">Brussels, Belgium Egyptian Revival is an architectural style that uses the motifs and imagery of ancient Egypt. It is at ...
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. File:Synagogue Aleppo.jpg, Central Synagogue of Aleppo, Aleppo, Syria (5th century) File:Kochi Jewish Synagogue C.jpg, Paradesi Synagogue, Kochi, India (1568) File:Sofia Synagogue 11c.jpg, Sofia Synagogue, Sofia, Bulgaria (1909) File:Frank Lloyd Wright - Beth Sholom Synagogue - Elkins Park, PA (7175161021).jpg, Beth Sholom Congregation (Elkins Park, Pennsylvania), Beth Sholom Congregation, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, Elkins Park, USA (1959) File:Jerusalem Great Synagogue.jpg, Great Synagogue (Jerusalem), Great Synagogue of Jerusalem (1982) File:Synagoge muenchen(softeis) ShiftN cropped.jpg, Ohel Jakob synagogue (Munich), Ohel Jakob synagogue, Munich, Germany (2006)


Interior elements


Bimah (platform)

All synagogues contain a ''Bema#Judaism, Bimah'', a large, raised, reader's platform (called (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. This is also so in the Ashkenazi United Synagogue in England, UK, who adopted some of the Sephardi customs. File:Saluzzo Synagogue 11 - Bimah et Arche Sainte.jpg, Bimah of the Saluzzo Synagogue, Saluzzo, Italy File:Touro Synagogue National Historic Site TOSY1085.jpg, Bimah of the Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island, USA File:Inside old synagogue Krakow.JPG, Cast-iron Bimah of the Old Synagogue, Kraków, Old Synagogue in Kraków, Poland


Table or lectern

In Ashkenazi synagogues, the
Torah The Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") includes the first five books of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Heb ...

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 ''Aron Kodesh'' or 'holy chest', and alternatively called the ''heikhal''— or 'temple' by Sephardim, Sephardic Jews, is a cabinet in which the
Torah The Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") includes the first five books of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Heb ...

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 Mizrah, 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 The Ark of the Covenant (Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, Judea ...

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 , which hangs outside or inside the ark doors.


Eternal Light

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


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 , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...

Spain
, the
Maghreb The Maghreb (; ar, المغرب, al-Maghrib, lit=the west), also known as Northwest Africa, is the western part of North Africa and the Arab world. The region includes Algeria, Libya, Mauritania (also considered part of West Africa), Morocco and ...

Maghreb
(North Africa),
Babylonia Babylonia () was an and based in central-southern which was part of Ancient Persia (present-day and ). A small -ruled state emerged in 1894 BCE, which contained the minor administrative town of . It was merely a small provincial town dur ...
, the
Land of Israel The Land of Israel () is the traditional Jewish name for an area of indefinite geographical extension in the Southern Levant The Southern Levant is a geographical region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical ...

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. Today, the custom has spread in all places to sit upon chairs and benches. Until the 19th century, in an Ashkenazi Jews, Ashkenazi synagogue, all seats most often faced the Torah Ark. In a Sephardi Jews, 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. 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.The Interactive Bible
''Synagogue Moses' Seat: Metaphor of Pride''
/ref> 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; another one was discovered at the Delos Synagogue, complete with a footstool.


Rules for attendees


Removing one's shoes

In Yemen, the Jewish custom was to remove one's shoes immediately prior to entering the synagogue, a custom that had been observed by Jews in other places in earlier times. The same practice of removing one's shoes before entering the synagogue was also largely observed among Jews in Morocco in the early 20th-century. On the island of Djerba in Tunisia, Jews still remove their shoes when entering a synagogue. The custom of removing one's shoes is no longer practiced in Israel, the United Kingdom, or the United States.


Gender separation

In Orthodox synagogues, men and women do not sit together. The synagogue features a partition () 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 surrounding culture. The Hamburg Temple, 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 (music), 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. In following decades, the central reader's table, the Bema#Judaism, 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 (, pl. or , 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'' (, pl. ''chavurot'', ), 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 classical antiquity, antiquity, the Pharisees lived near each other in ''chavurot'' and dined together to ensure that none of the food was unfit for consumption.


List of "great synagogues"

Some synagogues bear the title "great synagogue".


Israel

* The Belz Great Synagogue, Jerusalem * The Great Synagogue (Jerusalem), Great Synagogue of Jerusalem


Europe


Russia, Ukraine and Belarus

* The Moscow Choral Synagogue, Choral Synagogue of Moscow * The Grand Choral Synagogue of St. Petersburg * The Kharkiv Choral Synagogue * The Great Choral Synagogue (Kyiv), Ukraine


Poland

* The Great Synagogues of Great Synagogue, Warsaw, Warsaw and Great Synagogue, Łódź, Łódź, destroyed by Nazis during World War II. * The Włodawa Synagogue, Great Synagogue of Włodawa


Czech Republic

* The Great Synagogue (Plzeň), Great Synagogue of Plzeň


Hungary

* The Dohány Street Synagogue in
Budapest Budapest (, ) is the capital and the List of cities and towns of Hungary, most populous city of Hungary, and the Largest cities of the European Union by population within city limits, ninth-largest city in the European Union by population with ...

Budapest
, Hungary * The Szeged Synagogue, Synagogue of Szeged


Austria

* The Leopoldstädter Tempel of Vienna, destroyed during the "Kristallnacht" pogrom. Served as model for many other important synagogues.


Germany

* The New Synagogue (Berlin), New Synagogue of Berlin


Netherlands

* The Portuguese Synagogue (Amsterdam), Portuguese Synagogue of Amsterdam


Scandinavia

* The Stockholm Synagogue, Great Synagogue of Stockholm


France and Belgium

* The Grand Synagogue of Paris * The Great Synagogue of Europe, Great Synagogue of Brussels (also known as the Great Synagogue of Europe)


Italy

* The Great Synagogue of Florence * The Great Synagogue of Rome * The Synagogue of Trieste


Romania

* The Cetate Synagogue of Timișoara, * The Fabric Synagogue of Timișoara, Romania * The Templul Coral, Choral Temple of Bucharest


Serbia

* The Novi Sad Synagogue, Synagogue of Novi Sad * The Subotica Synagogue, Synagogue of Subotica


Bosnia and Herzegovina

* The Sarajevo Synagogue, Synagogue of Sarajevo


Bulgaria

* The Sofia Synagogue, Synagogue of Sofia


Turkey (European part)

* The Edirne Synagogue, Grand Synagogue of Edirne


United Kingdom

* The Great Synagogue of London, destroyed by aerial bombing in the London Blitz in 1941


Tunisia

* The :fr:Grande synagogue de Tunis, Great Synagogue of Tunis * The El Ghriba synagogue of Djerba


Australia

* The Great Synagogue (Sydney), Great Synagogue of Sydney


World's largest synagogues


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.


Europe

* The Dohány Street Synagogue in
Budapest Budapest (, ) is the capital and the List of cities and towns of Hungary, most populous city of Hungary, and the Largest cities of the European Union by population within city limits, ninth-largest city in the European Union by population with ...

Budapest
, Hungary, is the largest synagogue in Europe by square footage and number of seats. It seats 3,000, and has an area of and height of (apart from the towers, which are ). * The Synagogue of Trieste is the largest synagogue in Western Europe. * The Great Synagogue of Rome is one of the greatest in Europe. * The Portuguese Synagogue (Amsterdam), Portuguese Synagogue in Amsterdam, also called "Esnoga", was built in 1675. At that time it was the largest synagogue in the world. Apart from the buildings surrounding the synagogue, it has an area of , is high. It was built to accommodate 1227 men and 440 women. * Szeged Synagogue is located in Szeged, Hungary, seats 1,340 and has height of . * The Sofia Synagogue is located in Sofia, Bulgaria, seating about 1,200. * The Subotica Synagogue is located in Subotica, Serbia, seating more than 900. * Great Synagogue (Plzeň) in the Czech Republic is the second-largest synagogue in Europe, and the third-largest in the world.


North America

* Baron Hirsch Synagogue, an Orthodox synagogue in Memphis, Tennessee, was the largest in the United States at the time of its dedication in 1957, seating 2,200 worshippers with an additional accommodation for 1,000 in its main sanctuary. The synagogue moved in 1988, but the building remains in use as a church. * The Satmar (Hasidic dynasty), Satmar synagogue in Kiryas Joel, New York, which is said to seat "several thousand", is also very large. * Congregation Yetev Lev D'Satmar (Rodney Street, Brooklyn) is also said to seat "several thousand". * Temple Emanu-El of New York, a Temple, Reform Temple, is located in New York City, with an area of , seating 2,500. It is the largest Reform synagogue in the world. * Congregation Yetev Lev D'Satmar (Hooper Street, Brooklyn) seats between 2,000 and 4,000 congregants. * The main sanctuary of Adas Israel Congregation (Washington, D.C.) seats 1,500. * Temple Emanu-El (Miami Beach, Florida) located in Miami Beach, Florida, seats approximately 1,400 people. * Congregation Shaare Zion, an Orthodox Sephardic synagogue located in Brooklyn, New York (state), New York, is the largest Syrian Jewish congregation in New York City. It is attended by over 1,000 worshipers on weekends. * Beth Tzedec Congregation in Toronto, Ontario, is the largest Conservative synagogue in North America. * Temple Israel (Memphis, Tennessee), Temple Israel, a Reform synagogue in Memphis, Tennessee seats 1,335 to 1,500 people in its main sanctuary. The massive synagogue complex contains over 125,000 sq ft (11,613 m2) on 30 acres.


World's oldest synagogues

* The oldest synagogue fragments are stone-carved synagogue dedication inscriptions found in Middle and Lower Egypt and dating from the 3rd century BCE. * The oldest
Samaritan Samaritans (; ; he, שומרונים, translit=Shomronim; ar, السامريون, translit=as-Sāmiriyyūn) or Samaritan people are members of an ethnoreligious group originating from the Israelites of historical History of ancient Israel a ...

Samaritan
synagogue, the Delos Synagogue, dates from between 150 and 128 BCE, or earlier and is located on the island of
Delos The island of Delos (; el, Δήλος ; Attic Greek, Attic: , Doric Greek, Doric: ), near Mykonos, near the centre of the Cyclades archipelago, is one of the most important mythological, historical, and archaeological sites in Greece. The excava ...

Delos
. * The Dura-Europos synagogue, 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 (Erfurt), 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 Kochangadi Synagogue (1344 A.D. to 1789 A.D.) in Kochi in the Kerala, built by the Cochin Jews, Malabar Jews. It was destroyed by Tipu Sultan in 1789 A.D. and was never rebuilt. An inscription tablet from this synagogue is the oldest relic from any synagogue in India. List of synagogues in Kerala, Eight other synagogues exist in Kerala though not in active use anymore. * The Paradesi Synagogue is the oldest active synagogue in the Commonwealth of Nations, located in Kochi, Kerala, in India. It was built in 1568 by Paradesi Jews, Paradesi 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 of 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 List of synagogues in Kerala, eight 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

* Congregation Shearith Israel, in New York City, founded in 1654, is the oldest congregation in the United States. Its present building dates from 1897. * The Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island, is the oldest Jewish house of worship in North America that is still standing. It was built in 1759 for the Jeshuat Israel congregation, which was established in 1658.


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 Crown of Castile, 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–Cathedral of Córdoba, Mosque of Córdoba. Since 1964, this site has hosted a Sephardi museum. * The Hurva Synagogue, located in the Jewish Quarter (Jerusalem), Jewish Quarter of the Old City (Jerusalem), 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. * 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 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.Vilna Shul
/ref> * The Congregation Or Hatzafon "Light of the North", Fairbanks, Alaska, is the world's northernmost synagogue building. * The Görlitz Synagogue in Görlitz, Germany was built in Jugendstil style between 1909 and 1911. Damaged, but not destroyed, during the Kristallnacht riots, the synagogue was bought by the City Council in 1963. After extensive renovations concluding in late 2020, the main sanctuary (Kuppelsaal with 310 seats) will be reopened for general culture, and the small synagogue (Wochentags-Synagoge, with space for around 45 visitors)


Image gallery

File:CZZSVg018348-07.jpg, The Great Synagogue of Tunis, Tunisia File:Zarzis Synagogue.JPG, The Zarzis Synagogue, Synagogue of Zarzis, Tunisia File:Alte Synagoge Erfurt.JPG, The Old Synagogue (Erfurt) is the oldest intact synagogue building in Europe File:Berlin Neue Synagoge 2005.jpg, The New Synagogue (Berlin), New Synagogue in Berlin, Germany. File:Frankfurt Hauptsynagoge 1885.jpg, The main synagogue of the city of Frankfurt am Main (Germany) before the Kristallnacht. File:Köln synagoge pano.jpg, The Roonstrasse Synagogue in Cologne, Germany. File:RoyLindmanBethYaakovSynagogueGeneva 001.jpg, Beth Yaakov Synagogue, Switzerland File:Basler Synagoge(ws) retouched.jpg, The Great Synagogue of Basel in Basel, Switzerland. File:Åbo synagoga, den 27 juni 2007, bild 1.jpg, The Turku Synagogue in Turku, Finland. File:Moscow 05-2017 img31 Choral Synagogue.jpg, The Moscow Choral Synagogue, Choral Synagogue in Moscow, Russia. File:SynaStPersburgExt.JPG, The Grand Choral Synagogue of St. Petersburg, Russia File:SynagogueSantiago.jpg, The Great Synagogue of Santiago, Chile, Santiago, Chile. File:GerardDoustraatSynagogue.jpg, The Synagogue in the Gerard Doustraat in Amsterdam, Netherlands. File:EsnogaAmsterdam.jpg, The Portuguese Synagogue (Amsterdam), Portuguese Synagogue in Amsterdam, Netherlands File:Synagogue - Budapest.jpg, The Dohány Street Synagogue in
Budapest Budapest (, ) is the capital and the List of cities and towns of Hungary, most populous city of Hungary, and the Largest cities of the European Union by population within city limits, ninth-largest city in the European Union by population with ...

Budapest
, Hungary File:Synagogue, Szombathely, Hungary.jpg, Synagogue, Szombathely, Hungary File:Old new synagogue in Prague - inside.jpg,
Gothic Gothic or Gothics may refer to: People and languages *Goths or Gothic people, the ethnonym of a group of East Germanic tribes **Gothic language, an extinct East Germanic language spoken by the Goths **Crimean Gothic, the Gothic language spoken by ...
interior of the 13th-century Old New Synagogue of
Prague Prague ( ; cs, Praha ; german: Prag, ; la, Praga) is the capital and largest city A city is a large human settlement In geography, statistics and archaeology, a settlement, locality or populated place is a community in which people ...

Prague
, Czechia File:Great Synagogue Plzen CZ general view.JPG, The Great Synagogue (Plzeň), Great Synagogue of Plzeň, Czechia File:Lesko synagoga.jpg, The Lesko Synagogue in Lesko, Poland File:Synagoga Bobowa.JPG, The Bobowa Synagogue in Bobowa, Poland File:Beogradska sinagoga.jpg, Belgrade Synagogue, Sukkat Shalom Synagogue in Belgrade, Serbia File:Sinagoga u Subotici, 00.JPG, Subotica Synagogue, Jakab and Komor Square Synagogue in Subotica, Serbia File:Синагога у Новом Саду 3.JPG, The Novi Sad Synagogue, Jewish Street Synagogue in Novi Sad, Serbia File:Sinagoga Kadoorie10.jpg, Kadoorie Synagogue in Porto, Portugal. The largest synagogue in the Iberian Peninsula. File:Besht Shul1 Medzhibozh.jpg, The Baal Shem Tov's shul in Medzhybizh, Ukraine (c. 1915), destroyed and recently rebuilt. File:Belz hasidic synagogue.jpg, The Belz (Hasidic dynasty), Belzer synagogue of Belz, Ukraine. It no longer exists. File:Synagoge auf Gelaende der Universtaet Tel Aviv.jpg, The Cymbalista Synagogue and Jewish Heritage Center at Tel Aviv University. File:Kherson-Synagogue01.jpg, The synagogue of Kherson, Ukraine. File:Or Zaruaa synagogue, founded by Rabbi Amram Aburbeh in Nahlat Ahim, Jerusalem, Israel exterior photo; showing location on 3 Refali street..jpg, Or Zaruaa Synagogue, Jerusalem, Israel founded in 1926. File:Hurva synagogue.jpg, The Hurva Synagogue towered over the Jewish Quarter (Jerusalem), Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem from 1864 until 1948, when it was destroyed in war File:Hakhurba-synagogue01m.jpg, The remains of the Hurva Synagogue as they appeared from 1977 to 2003. The synagogue has been rebuilt in 2010. File:Istanbul Ashkenazi Sinagogue Interior.JPG, The Ashkenazi Synagogue of Istanbul, Turkey, founded in 1900 File:Karaite synagogue cali.jpg, The interior of a Karaite Judaism, Karaite synagogue File:Central Synagogue Lex jeh.jpg, The Central Synagogue (Manhattan), Central Synagogue on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan, New York City File:Temple Emanu-El Synagogue.jpg, Temple Emanu-El, Neo-Byzantine style synagogue in Miami Beach, Florida File:Jewish synagouge kochi india.jpg, The Paradesi Synagogue in Kochi, Kerala, India File:Kiev34.jpg, The Great Choral Synagogue (Kyiv), Great Choral Synagogue in Podil, Kyiv, Ukraine File:Great Synagogue of Rome 01.JPG, Great Synagogue of Rome, Italy File:RoyLindmanAbuhavSynagogueZefatIsrael 001.jpg, Abuhav synagogue, Israel File:Ari Ashkenazi Synagogue, exterior.jpg, Ari Ashkenazi Synagogue, Israel File:RoyLindmanSantaMarialaBlancaSynagogue 002.jpg, Santa María la Blanca,
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...

Spain
File:RoyLindmanCordobaSynagogue 003.jpg, Córdoba Synagogue,
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...

Spain
File:RoyLindmanElTransito 003.jpg, El Transito Synagogue,
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...

Spain
File:Székesfehérvár synogogue.gif, 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. File:Sofia Synagogue.jpg, Sofia Synagogue, Bulgaria File:BUCTemplulCoral.jpg, Templul Coral, The Choral Temple, Bucharest, Romania File:Sinagoga din Targu Mures.jpg, Synagogue of Târgu Mureș, Romania File:Caravan shul interior.jpg, Interior of a "caravanim, caravan shul" (synagogue housed in a trailer-type facility), Neve Yaakov, Jerusalem File:Ohev Sholom - The National Synagogue.JPG, Ohev Sholom - The National Synagogue (opened 1960), mid-century building with expressionist overtones; Washington, D.C. File:ASCALON STUDIOS, David Ascalon, Lincoln Square Synagogue Ark New York.jpg, Sanctuary ark, Lincoln Square Synagogue, New York City (2013), created by David Ascalon File:Bevis Marks Synagogue 01.JPG, Bevis Marks Synagogue, City of London, the oldest synagogue in the United Kingdom File:Stockholms synagoga 2010.JPG, Stockholm Synagogue, Sweden File:Brisbane Synagogue.jpg, Brisbane Hebrew Congregation, Brisbane Synagogue, Brisbane, Australia


See also

*Great Synagogue (disambiguation) *List of synagogues *List of synagogues in the United States *Mandi (Mandaeism) *Place of worship *Prayer book *Rabbi *Siddur *Zionist churches *Temple


Notes


References

* * Young, Penny (2014). ''Dura Europos: A City for Everyman''. Diss, Norfolk, UK: Twopenny Press. .


External links


Jewish Encyclopedia: Synagogue

Chabad Lubavitch Center & Synagogue Finder

Orthodox Union Synagogue Finder

United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism Synagogue Finder

Union for Reform Judaism Synagogue Finder

Reconstructionist Synagogue Finder
{{Authority control Synagogues, Jewish holy places Jewish buildings Building types