Synagogues

Synagogues

About Synagogues

A synagogue (from Greek: synagwgh transliterated synagoge, meaning "assembly") is a Jewish or Samaritan house of prayer. This use of the Greek term synagogue originates in the Septuagint where it sometimes translates the Hebrew word for assembly, kahal. In modern Hebrew a synagogue is called either a beyt knesset, meaning "house of assembly"; or beyt t'fila, meaning "house of prayer", in Yiddish shul, from the German for "school," and in Ladino esnoga. Synagogues have a large hall for prayer (the main sanctuary), and can also have smaller rooms for study and sometimes a social hall for occasions as well as offices for bookkeeping. Some have a separate room for Torah study, called the beit midrash (Sfard) "beis midrash (Ashkenaz) ("House of Study"). Synagogues are consecrated spaces that can be used only for the purpose of prayer; however, a synagogue is not necessary for worship. Communal Jewish worship can be carried out wherever ten Jews (a minyan) assemble.

Contributions by Jayjg, Jfdwolff, and Yoninah.