Looking at Buildings

, printed from the Looking at Buildings website on Thursday 24th September 2020

The Origin of the Synagogue

capitalGlossary Term [1] of the ancient Kingdom of Israel. The site is now occupied by the magnificent Islamic Dome of the Rock and El Aksa mosques and is holy to Jews and Muslims alike. This First Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians in the year 586 Before the Common Era (BCE) and a Second Temple was erected after the returnGlossary Term [2] of the Jews from exile in Babylon. The Second Temple was also destroyed, this time by the Romans in the year 70 of the Common Era (CE)

Although it is likely that Jewish communities beyond Israel (e.g. in Babylon, Asia Minor, Syria, Egypt and Rome) had their own places of worship, the synagogue as we know it today really evolved after the fall of Jerusalem. It was conceived of as a Mikdash Me'at -"a little holy place" [Ezekiel 11:16] which would serve as a temporary place of worship until such time as the Temple itself would be rebuilt.

Last updated: Monday, 26th January 2009