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The Synagogue. Jewish place of prayer, community, and education Services daily but main service on Friday night and Saturday morning Requires a minyan = at least ten adults over the age of 13 Usually led by rabbi = religious leader and teacher. Interior. All Synagogues contain.

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All synagogues contain
All Synagogues contain . . .

  • AronKodesh – Holy Ark, holds Torah scrolls

    • After the Hebrews received the Ten Commandments, they were told to make an ark to house them

    • Each Torah is handwritten in Hebrew on parchment paper (animal skin)

    • Today, the Holy Ark sits on a raised platform in the synagogue, and contains the Torah scrolls.

  • NerTamid – “eternal light”, near the Ark

    • symbolizes the presence of God

  • Bimah – the lectern from which the Torah is read

  • An Hebrew by hand on parchmentEternal Light hangs above the Ark.

  • This light is always burning, as a symbol of God’s presence.

Ner tamid
Ner Tamid Hebrew by hand on parchment

Bimah Hebrew by hand on parchment

Orthodox synagogues separate men and women at worship. They have a divider called a mechitzah between the two sections of the synagogue.

Rabbi They have a divider called a

  • He (or she in Reform and some Conservative communities) leads services, educates, and officiates at events like bar mitzvahs, weddings and funerals

  • It usually takes five years of postgraduate study to become a rabbi.

The menorah
The Menorah They have a divider called a

  • One or two Menorah (seven branched candle sticks)are found close to the Ark.

Synagogue service
Synagogue Service They have a divider called a

  • Service is led by the Rabbi and perhaps a cantor (leads sings and chanting of prayers and reads from Torah)

  • Service is often a mixture of Hebrew and English

  • Lasts between 30 and 90 minutes

The service
The Service: They have a divider called a

  • Chanting of the Shema (their most important statement of beliefs) and Amidah (silent prayer in which they ask God for certain things)

  • Scripture readings

    • Writings

    • Psalms

    • Prophets

    • Torah

  • Sermon

  • Blessings

Different branches of Judaism have different attitudes towards these laws:

  • Orthodox – follow strictly, do not change

  • Conservative – some follow strictly, many follow a modified version, more flexible to change (ex. Giving women equal role in synagogue ritual)

  • Reform – following is up to the individual; many follow partially, only practice certain rituals which strengthen their relationship with God (ex. Sabbat and Kashrut are not observed, service in English)

Clothing during service
Clothing During Service towards these laws:

  • Yarmulke/Kippah:

    • Hat worn by men during service/worship to show their respect for God

  • Tallit:

    • prayer shawl while praying

    • Filfills one of the commandments

  • Tefillin:

    • Small leather boxes with straps that can be tied on the arm and around the head (serving God with body and mind)

    • Contain versus on parchment from 4 sections of the Torah

    • Reminder of God’s commandments

    • Not worn on Shabbat or festivals

Clothing worn during worship
Clothing worn during worship: towards these laws:




  • Tour of Synagogue: towards these laws:

  • Service

  • How Jews Pray