Synagogue

A synagogue[lower-alpha 1] (/ˈsɪnəɡɒɡ/) or shul (/ˈʃl/) is a Jewish house of worship. The term "synagogue" is also used to describe a Samaritan house of worship, though this is rare. Synagogues have a place for prayer (the main sanctuary) and may also have rooms for study, a social hall, and offices. Some have a separate room for Torah study called a beth midrash.[lower-alpha 2]

Eldridge Street Synagogue in New York City, U.S.
Princes Road Synagogue in Liverpool, England
Exterior of Helsinki Synagogue in Helsinki, Finland
Yusef Abad Synagogue in Tehran, Iran

Synagogues are consecrated spaces used for the purpose of Jewish prayer, study, assembly, and reading of the Tanakh (the entire Hebrew Bible, including the Torah). However, a synagogue is not necessary for Jewish worship. Halakha (Jewish law) states that communal Jewish worship can be carried out wherever a minyan (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.


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