The synagogue is the Jewish place of worship. The word "synagogue" derives from the Greek, meaning to assemble. The Hebrew termGlossary Term is Bet Knesset, "house of assembly" denoting the three-fold function of the synagogue as house of prayer, study and meeting. The synagogue has always been a community building with a social function rather than a sacred shrine.
In the Middle Ages in Christian Europe synagogues were located within the forced ghetto or more open Jewish Quarter, termed "the Jewry" in England, where formal ghettos were never instituted. English Jews nevertheless often chose to live in proximity to the Royal castle, being subject to the arbitrary protection of the CrownGlossary Term.
By exploring the pages in this sectionGlossary Term you will learn more about the origins of the synagogue, the design of synagogues and the symbols that may be found in them. Click on the links and the images for additional information and examples of different synagogues.