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Etz Hayyim Synagogue
Etz Hayyim Synagogue
#About Chania's Synagogue

Not far from the Venetian Harbor in Chania is the Tree of Life Synagogue (Etz Hayyim Synagogue). Until 1944 lived here a thriving Jewish Community that enjoyed religious freedom and good relations with its Christian neighbors. However then the island was taken over by Nazi forces, and the Jews were all taken to concentration camps.

The Tree of Life Synagogue is a great reminder of the Jewish Community, which lived here up until the Holocaust. It is located in a small alleyway, near the ancient port of Chania, operating today by volunteers.


Visit the link below to arrange a tour.

A Closer Look:

Sinagoga di Verona
The Verona Synagogue
#About the Oldest Synagogue In the City of Verona

200 meters from Juliet's balcony, Romeo's beloved in the famous tragic novel, is one of the beautiful buildings left from the Jewish community of Verona. This is the city's synagogue, Sinagoga di Verona.

The synagogue is located in the heart of the Jewish Quarter of the city, or at least what was the heart of the Quarter in the past. Its façade was designed by Italian architect Anatora Peguelli and is decorated in the Art Deco style.

During World War II, the building, which served the city's many Jews, was destroyed. Most of the community were murdered by the Nazis. After the war, the synagogue was renovated and today it is partially active - only on Saturdays and holidays.


On weekdays the synagogue is closed and entry into it requires prior coordination with the Jewish family responsible for its maintenance and preservation. The phone number can be found on the website below.

A Closer Look:




A Visit:

#About the Only Synagogue That Was Saved from the Nazis

The Stadttempel, the Great Synagogue of Vienna, is the lucky one out of Vienna's synagogues. This is the only one out of the 74 synagogues and Jewish buildings in the city that were not destroyed on Kristallnacht.

Its nickname is the Kristallnacht, the night of the violent pogrom by Nazi rioters against the Jews. The crystal image came from the many pieces of glass scattered everywhere, as a result of the shattered glass of Jewish houses and businesses.

There were two main reasons why this synagogue survived the difficult night. One is its proximity to the offices of the Jewish community and the German apprehension about its important archive, which included inscriptions and necessary information for their diabolical needs, about the Jews of the city of Vienna.

The second reason was the Germans' fear that the fire would damage the houses nearby. The reason is that the structure of the synagogue was part of a dense row of residential buildings.

Although not severely damaged, the Jewish community renovated the synagogue after the war and added to it glory and splendor.

#Architecture of the Building

Despite being a synagogue for Jews, the architect of the synagogue was not Jewish himself. It therefore has quite a few Christian characteristics. At that time, during the reign of Emperor Franz Joseph II, laws were passed that stated that religious buildings would not receive a prominent and conspicuous façade. This is why the synagogue, which is more beautiful on the inside, looks outwardly like a regular dwelling and manages to hide all its architectural beauty inside the building.

The synagogue has 4 floors and is topped by a dome. Just like all the other synagogues, here too there is a clear separation between men and women - the men sit on the lower floor and the women rise to the balconies of the first and second floors.
Pinkasove Synagoga
Pinkas Synagogue
#About the Synagogue the Memorializes the Czech Jews Who Perished in the Holocaust

The Pinkas Synagogue (Pinkasove Synagoga), memorializes the Jews that were killed by the Nazis from Moravia and Bohemia. On the walls are engravings of 77,297 names of Jewish victims, and some personal information about them, and the communities they belonged to.

On the second floor is an exhibit of Jewish children drawings from the Theresienstadt Ghetto, between 1942-1944. Back then the Ghetto was used as a last stop for the Czech Jews, before being taken in masses to death camps, and most of the children who drew the drawings did not survive the Holocaust.

#The Synagogue's Architecture

The synagogue you are now in, built in 1535 by the Horowitz family, was one of the richest Jewish families in the Jewish Ghetto.

About 100 years later in 1625, another wing was added to the synagogue, in the Renaissance style. In the following century (18th), additions were made to the building in the Baroque style.

At the end of World War II the synagogue became a memorial center, dedicated to the Jews of Moravia and Bohemia that were murdered by the Nazis.

During the Communist rule some construction and renovations took place here, and in 1968 a vaulted cavity that contained an ancient Jewish ritual bath ("Mikveh" in Hebrew) and a water well were discovered beneath the building.

This is when the names of the victims were erased from the walls, with the excuse that the dampness in the walls caused the damage. However after the end of the Communist rule over the Czech, the names we re-written on the walls of the synagogue, and were not erased again. With time this synagogue has gone on to become part of the Prague Jewish Museum.

A Closer Look at the Pinkas Synagogue:


A Very Famous Video:



Starovon Synagoga
Starovoná Synagoga
#About the Old Synagogue in Prague

Old New Synagogue (Altneuschul or Starovoná Synagoga) is a Gothic-Baroque synagogue, built in 1270 by the Jewish community of Prague.

Altneuschul is considered the most active, oldest and most famous synagogue in Europe. Around it the flourishing Jewish community of the city of Prague flourished. Here, the Mahal prayed and worked hundreds of years ago, and the legend tells us that the remains of the Golem of Prague, created by the Maharal, remains in the attic of the synagogue.

By the way, if you in Prague on a Friday night, you could enjoy a special Jewish experience in prayer. The prayer in this ancient synagogue is full of holiness and connection to the past. It is far from luxurious but is authentic and Jewish.

In the past they nicknamed the synagogue "on conditional terms." The story says that the synagogue was built, among other things, from stones brought from the ruins of the Temple in Jerusalem. Construction according to tradition was made "conditional." When the Messiah will come, they made a promise that the stones would be returned to their place in the temple to be built again in Jerusalem.

#What is the Story of the Golem of Prague?

The Jewish story of the "Golem of Prague," which deals with an ill-conceived creature, is a kind of "robot story," perhaps the oldest in history. It is already possible to learn about the great fear of loss of control over an artificial creature like man.

"The Golem of Prague" was written by Rabbi Yehuda ben Bezalel Loew, the Maharal of Prague, and the Maharal's most famous legend tells of a human created by the Maharal during the period when he fought the anti-Semitic Christian priest Thaddeus.

He wanted to save the Jews of Prague from the blood libels, "from all evil and all the troubles that their enemies immediately suffer." He created a mysterious Golem, made of clay and Earth. He was helped by mysterious combinations of letters and was assisted by his son-in-law and his close disciple.

The Golem who was created received the name Yosef and the people called him Yossele Golem. He functioned like everyone else - see, hear and understand - but he could not speak. The Maharal alone activated the Golem, using a piece of parchment he placed under the tongue of Yossele Golem with the name of God.

Every night the golem would go out to the streets of Prague to uncover plots against the Jews of the city. He did so diligently, in the Rabbi's orders, and saved many Jews.

However, every Sabbath eve, the rabbi used to take the spirit of life out of the Golem, for fear that he would spoil the Sabbath. Thus the Golem lay like a lump of clay until the end of the Sabbath. One Friday the Rabbi forgot to take the spirit of life out of him and the Golem came out and desecrated the Sabbath, endangering the gentiles of the city. The rabbi who was chasing him managed to reach him at the entrance to the ancient Altneuschul Synagogue in Prague. The Golem was shattered to pieces after the Maharal took out the spirit of life from his body.

According to another version, when the blood libels ended, the Maharal removed the piece of holy parchment from the mouth of the Golem, turning it back into a mound of earth and whose remains were buried, according to legend, in the attic of the Altneuschul Synagogue in Prague. And instead of the remains of the Golem, some old furniture was found there ...

The Golem who saved the Jews of the community from conspiracies and blood libels, often acted on behalf of the Maharal to help establish order and peace within the Jewish community itself.

Here is a Video About the Oldest Synagogue in Europe:

Spanelska Synagoga
Spanish Synagogue
#About the Spanish Synagogue

The Spanish Synagogue (Starovoná Synagoga, or the Spanelska Synagoga), also known as the Temple or Der Tempel, is the synagogue that replaced the old Altschule Synagogue, which was built in the 12th century and served the Jews of Spain who fled to Prague from persecution of the Inquisition. It is located in the Jewish quarter of Josefov, in Prague. The funny thing is that in recent centuries, despite the name of the synagogue, not Sephardic Jews prayed there, but Ashkenazi Jews.

The architectural style of the Spanish Synagogue is Moorish, built-in 1868 and completed in 1893. This is reflected in his gold decorations and colored tiles. It has an impressive glass dome and a great deal of luxury. Notice the stained glass windows and the large organ, which is a result of the 19th century, which the Reform congregation of Prague began to use, though not on the Sabbath. At that time, certain synagogues in Europe began to put an organ in the synagogue for Jewish prayers.

The building, designed by the architect Wojciek Ignac Ulman, had 4,000 seats. To write the synagogue regulations, Leopold Tsunz was hired during the renovations. The prayers, accompanied by the organ, were led by a choir conducted by Michael Zacks.

During the World War II, the synagogue served the Nazis to store Jewish ritual objects that had been looted throughout Europe, for Hitler's plan to establish, after the destruction of the Jews, the museum of an extinct race. In the decade following the war, the synagogue was restored to the Jewish community of Prague and renovated in the 1990's and reopened in 1998.

Today the synagogue is no longer used for prayer, but for the Jewish Museum in Prague. From time to time there are concerts. It displays an exhibition of religious objects and silverware stolen by the Nazis and looted from Jewish communities that were destroyed in Europe. Thanks to its beauty, the synagogue attracts many visitors, both Jewish and non-Jewish tourists.

A Video About the Spanish Synagogue of Prague:


A Closer Look at the Spanish Synagogue's Exterior:

Neus Synagoge Berlin
New Synagogue Berlin
#About the Synagogue that was Restored After it was Burned on Kristallnacht

As early as the 19th century, the New Synagogue (Neus Synagoge Berlin) was one of the brightest buildings in the city. Its large gold dome, 50.2 meters high, one can spot from all over the city. On both sides of the dome, you will see two smaller domes that remind of Muslim mosques. The synagogue was built between 1859 and 1866, and was initially the largest and most beautiful synagogue in Germany.

During Kristallnacht, between November 9th and 10th, 1938, the Nazis tried to set the building on fire. One policemen standing in the neighborhood managed to prevent the fire, claiming that the building was for preservation. However, the fate of the building haunted him. In 1943, the synagogue was destroyed by Allied bombings. Its reconstruction began only a few decades later, in 1988.

Today the synagogue is not active, but you can find the Centrum Judaicum, which is a Jewish Cultural Center. The museum also has a permanent exhibition that presents the life of the Jews in the city, changing exhibitions that teach about Jewish history and contemporary art, as well as a historical archives. In the main hall there are 3,200 seats for worshipers who used to come here in the past.

#Architecture of the Synagogue

In April 1857, an architectural competition was held in the city of Berlin to design the new synagogue. The architect Eduard Knoblauch was in charge of the competition, but since he was not able to choose any of the plans, he designed the building himself. Two years later in 1859, Knoblauch fell ill, and the building continued by Friedrich August Stüller, a friend of Knoblauch. The construction was complete in 1861, but the interior was delayed and concluded only in 1866. The cost of all the construction amounted to about 750,000 thaler.

The design of the synagogue is a tribute to the architecture of the Iberian Peninsula. On the façade of the building you will see colored stones and terra cotta, and the caption: "Open the gates and bring the righteous, the guard of the faithful" (Yeshayahu 26:2) The width of the front is 29 meters and the length of the synagogue is 97 meters. This building is one of the first built in Berlin in the modern era using modern construction methods.

#The Organ Quarrel

The community leaders of Berlin wanted to install an organ in the new synagogue, a musical instrument that was very closely associated with the church. Jewish leaders forbade the introduction of the instrument, for reasons of "following in the laws of the gentiles." In order to try to resolve the dispute, the committee invited the opinion of well-known rabbis in Germany, and here too the opinions were split into two:

The Orthodox Rabbis did not allow any kind of organ use in the synagogue, neither on the Sabbath nor on weekdays.

Reformist Rabbi Abraham Geiger, on the other hand, ridiculed the situation. In 1862 it was determined that playing an organ on the Sabbath by a gentile does not violate or contradict the Halakhah.


It has recently been reported that the synagogue is temporarily closed. If you intend to enter it, try and find out if it has reopened first.

A Closer Look:

Templul Coral
Choral Temple
#About the Stylish Central Jewish Synagogue of Romania

The Choral Temple (Templul Coral) was built more than 150 years ago. Until today, it is used as the largest and central synagogue of Romania's Jews. This synagogue is considered a reform synagogue. This synagogue is very old, it was built in the middle of the 19th century, between 1855- 1858.

The opening of the church was delayed because of destruction caused by vandals. These were Romanian nationalists, who violently protested Jews. It went through a serious renovation and then opened to the public. The first stone was laid in 1965. To the opening ceremony many important people came, members of the Founders Association, the Jews of Bucharest, as well as many Christian guests. In this ceremony, large donations were collected, used to pay the loan for the building of the synagogue, and continuing construction work.

Today, the building is still impressive and has a prominent presence. It has an old and ancient feeling to it, and it blends in well with the different buildings of the area. It is considered a Jewish historical site, an exact replica of the Tempelgasse synagogue in Vienna. Like it, it was also built by two Viennese architects.

The Choral Temple has two upper floors where the choir and organ are located. At the time, bringing the organ to the synagogue made many of the community upset, however, the organ remained.

During protests in Bucharest in 1941, the synagogue was severely damaged. A harsh and cruel massacre was carried out against the worshipers who were present at the time. After World War II, the synagogue was renovated with the help of donations from organizations. In the street in front of the synagogue is a statue of a Menorah in memory of the victims of the Holocaust.

A Closer Look at the Synagogue, Part of a Tour of Jewish Sites in the City:


Inside the Synagogue:


Klausova Synagoga
Klausen Synagogue
#About the Synagogue that was in the Ghetto

Klausen Synagogue (Klausova Synagoga), of Klausen in Prague was the biggest synagogue in Prague. It's entertaining to know that its name comes from the word Klaus, the German word meaning a small building, and in Yidish; a small synagogue or house of prayer.

The Klausen was built in the end of the 17th century during a long period of time, and it housed the burial society, which was responsible for burial matters.

The synagogue that reminds of the Baroque church in Prague, replaced the ancient synagogue that was sitting here and burned in 1689, in a fire that destroyed most of the Jewish Ghetto, with many of the houses and synagogues in it.

Today the synagogue displays hand written rare antiques, historic Jewish printed materials, and paintings where traditions and customs are eternalized in Jewish Prague in the 18th century.

A Closer Look at the Klausen Synagogue:


Another Look:

Maisel Synagogue
#About the Synagogue with the Wonderful Display of Judiaca

The Maisel Synagogue (Maiselova Synagoga) is one of the sites of the Jewish quarter of Jozefow in the city, which serves as a museum only and holds no prayers.

As part of the "Jewish Museum," a collection of Judaica is displayed in the synagogue, including medieval Talmudic writings, synagogue ritual utensils, Shabbat candlesticks, Hanukkah menorahs, religious vessels, and crowns.

There is a silent display of the development of the Jewish community of Bohemia and Moravia, from the founding of the community in the 10th and 18th centuries during the Emancipation.

This display is only the tip of a huge collection, collected by the Nazis, with the intention of showing it in the museum about the extinct race, after they finished annihilating the Jews.

#Architecture of the Building

The Maisel Synagogue is housed in a Neo-Gothic building built in 1905. Until then, there was a Renaissance Synagogue that was burned down. This synagogue was founded in the 16th century by Rabbi Mordechai Maisel. This Maisel was head of the Jewish ghetto of Prague during the reign of King Rudolph II, and bought the land for the construction of the synagogue. At that time Maisel was the richest man in Europe. There is a legend about him that explains the wealth he accumulated with divine help. But without mystical religious explanations, Maisel was one of the great merchants of the 16th century, and his business, which was conducted with wisdom and a rare business sense, embraced trade with all parts of Europe.

In 1689, the Maisel Synagogue was burned down in a fire that destroyed most of the city's Jewish ghetto. Renovation and reconstruction had reduced the height of the synagogue structure by about a third of its original height.

During World War II, the Nazis, who had occupied the Czech Republic before the war, used the Maisel Synagogue as a storehouse for Jewish property confiscated and robbed.

Today the Maisel Synagogue in Prague belongs to the Czech Jewish community and is maintained by the Prague Jewish Museum.

A Closer Look at Maisel Synagogue:

Portuguese Synagogue Amsterdam
#About the Synagogue

The Mizrachi and Portuguese Jews, Jews who immigrated to the Netherlands following the expulsion from Spain, used the Portuguese Synagogue in Amsterdam. This ancient synagogue was built more than 300 years ago and is known as "Isnoga," synagogue in Ladino.

The synagogue was designed by architect Elias Bauman. Its construction began in 1671, but stopped after a year for two years, following wars and economic and political crises. In 1674 construction resumed and in 1675 the synagogue was inaugurated.

In the 1970's and 1980's, after most of Amsterdam's Jews moved to the suburbs, there were hardly any permanent worshipers. The synagogue became active only on Saturdays. Although the synagogue is mostly part of the Portuguese community, most of the worshipers are Israelis belonging to the Sephardi communities and Jewish tourists.

A visitor center and a museum on the history of the synagogue can be seen here. Notice the entrance to the synagogue, above which you can see the engraved inscription in Hebrew letters. A verse from a Psalm is quoted here in the Book of Psalms.

The synagogue is built on wooden foundations that stand in the water. In order to perform maintenance work you have to sail the boat under it.

Around the synagogue there are low buildings that create a wall, among them the winter synagogue, offices, workers' residences, the "Tree of Life" library, a Mikveh and Beit Tahara. The buildings form a kind of inner common area, in which a safe and protected playground is built for the children of the worshipers who come here.

A Closer Look at the Synagogue:

Hechal Yehuda Synagogue
#About the Synagogue for the Jews of Thessaloniki

How fun to discover, in a normal residential neighborhood, a jaw-dropping place as spectacular as this one. The synagogue you are facing is a work of architectural, modernist and fascinating art.

This is the Hechal Yehuda Synagogue, which many call the Recanati Synagogue and is identified with the Jewish community of Salonika in Tel Aviv. The synagogue is located just behind the Tower of the Century, at Menahem Ben Sarok Street 13,Tel Aviv, in the area where the Arab village of Sumail once stood.

The main initiator of the building is businessman Avraham Shmuel Recanati, chairman of the community council and former deputy mayor of Thessaloniki, but the real star of the building is architect Yitzhak Toledano, who designed this impressive building, a structure not typical of synagogues around the world.

Toledano designed the building in the form of an oyster. It symbolizes the seashells from the shores of Salonika, the city of origin of most members of the community who pray there. Oysters are the only objects in nature whose sides converge to one place, which made the shell suitable to represent all the sides of the synagogue, towards the Holy Ark. A beautiful idea and impressive outcome.

The stained-glass windows of the synagogue are decorated with Jewish themes such as Shabbat and Jewish holidays.

The facade of the building is also impressive. It is made of bare concrete and decorated with reliefs and ornaments that present a selection of Jewish symbols such as a menorah, a Star of David and more.
Tel Aviv Great Synagogue
#About Little Tel Aviv's Great Synagogue

You are standing in front of the Great Synagogue of Tel Aviv. This is a central synagogue, used by the little city, and was built as a central location for the developing city.

Arrive to the Allenby Street side of the synagogue. Notice the memorial slates that remember the historical events that occurred here during the British Mandate period.

The story is that during the British Mandate, the synagogue was searched by the British police. This was after the King David Hotel bombing in Tel Aviv. In the basement the policemen found arms and weapons that belonged to the Lehi group. At that time, Eliezer Neuman, the synagogue's leader, was arrested and sentenced to a year's imprisonment by a military court.

Today this synagogue is less popular than in the past. Starting in the 1960's there were significant declines in participants, mainly because of the population change in this area of the city.

Recently the Great Synagogue has come back in style. Various concerts have been held here, weekly religious lessons, lectures, famous cantors, other rabbis from different towns come to lead services here, as well as political figures and foreign guests. Many times celebrities are included among the crowd. All this has given a big push to rejuvenate and modernize the atmosphere.

#The Synagogue's Architecture

The original designs for the synagogue were made in 1914 by German architect Richard Michael, he almost completed the design, but was then drafted to the German army during World War I. He was switched by architect Alexander Baerwald, who design the Technion in Haifa. But he also did not completed his plans, and it was the architect Yehuda Meginovich, that in 1924 was finally able to begin construction on the building. The dome of the building was designed by Arpad Gut.

In the end of the 1930's the architect Zeev Rechter was asked to design the partial construction of the Great Synagogue. He designed an Italian-style square around the synagogue, on the north and west sides of the building.

By the way, a whole line of houses had been planned around the square. Their ground level was supposed to pass an arcade with eastern arches. The arcade is a covered passageway, with a roof, with a succession of arches or vaults supported by pillars. The spaces of the arcade were designated for the shops and workshops of professionals. From this plan only the "Mani House" was built, which you can see standing in front of the main entrance to the Great Synagogue.

Another renovation and addition to the Great Synagogue took place in the late 1960's. In order to adapt the structure to the spirit of the time and to bring about renewed activity in it, architect Arieh Elhanani added to the building a series of arches and concrete supports placed in front of it, modernizing features in the spirit of the new era.

A Closer Look at the Outside:


A Closer Look Inside:

Balat Ahrida Synagogue
#About the Oldest Synagogue in Istanbul

The Balat Ahrida Synagogue, located in the Balat district on the Golden Horn, is the oldest synagogue in Istanbul. The neighborhood in which it is built is a relatively poor neighborhood, with quite a few impressive historical buildings. It was originally built by the Jews of the Ottoman city of Arida, in today's Macedonian territory.

This is the synagogue of the Sephardic Jewish community in the city, most of whom emigrated to the city with the expulsion from Spain. Here we can still hear the Ladino language being spoken from Spain.

The synagogue was renovated in 1992 to mark the 500th anniversary of the arrival of the Jews of Spain in the Ottoman Empire, and the fact that it was damaged quite a bit by a fire in the 17th century.

From the outside, on the long wall along the street, it is difficult to discern that this is a Jewish prayer house. Only the doors hint at the Jewish origin. The interior of the synagogue, however, is beautifully restored. Spanish Jewish elements are clearly visible. One of the most impressive and impressive things is his beautiful wooden dome.

Pay attention in the synagogue to the "stage," the place from which the cantor reads. The shape of the stage, which is called a "box," is like the bow of a ship. The resemblance of the prayer stage to the front of an ancient ship that crosses the water comes from the tradition of the Jews of Turkey. In their eyes, it symbolizes and recalls the Ottoman ships that in 1492 collected the expelled Jews from Spain and took them to a new home in Turkey, where they would receive protection for centuries as a religious minority.

#What is the Connection to the False Messiah Shabtai Tzvi?

Historically, the synagogue here is known as the only synagogue in Istanbul where Shabtai Tzvi, the founder of the Jewish Shabtai movement, prayed.

The man, a young and charismatic Jewish man, came from his hometown of Izmir and proclaimed himself the Jewish Messiah. Quite quickly, many believers gathered around him, who were known among the Jews as the "Sabbatean cult." Shabtai Tzvi's name spread rapidly and was followed by many Jews. Throughout the Jewish world and in the corners of the Balkans, Europe, and even India and Yemen, the Jews spoke of the magic of the Jewish Messiah.

Of course, many opposed him and saw him as a false messiah, but no one predicted what would happen in 1666, the year 666 would get the nickname "Satan's Year." Shabtai Tzvi stunned his followers and decided to convert to Islam. What happened behind the scenes was that the Ottomans arrested him and presented him with two alternatives - either converting to Islam or being killed. The Jewish "messiah" chose to convert to Islam and received the name Aziz Muhammad Effendi.

There was tremendous shock in the Jewish world. It was as exciting, no less than the magic that Tzvi had had upon the Jews before. The Messiah converted to Islam!!! No less astonishing the Jews was the fact that many of his followers, the hard core of his movement, chose to follow him, and convert to Islam as well .

Thus Shabtai Zvi was later nicknamed "a false Messiah." Despite the fact that there are scholars who describe his historical role as a great converter who shook Judaism, and after his conversion he never returned to Judaism.

What is interesting is that the converted Jewish Messiah is now also considered a Muslim saint, many of whom go up to his grave and ask for a blessing. After all, he chose Islam. It was not entirely his choice, but he did choose ...

#A Visit:

Neve Shalom Synagogue
#About the Italian Synagogue in Istanbul

The "Neve Şalom Sinagogu" in Istanbul is the largest and most famous synagogue in the city. Its main hall is the most luxurious and beautiful of the other synagogues in the city.

It is a wonderful synagogue, located at the northern end of the Golden Horn in the center of Istanbul, a 2-minute walk from Ortkoy Mosque, on the Bosphorus.

Notice here the arabesque-like decorations on the stained-glass windows of the synagogue's ceiling. They remind decorations undignified Muslim mosques and interesting to be understood in the context of the mutual influences that take place over the years between Judaism with a ban "will not make you a graven image," and Islam, which developed arabesques to beautify their mosques without trying to imitate the god, what the religion considers forbidden.

#History of the Synagogue

This synagogue, once one of Istanbul's most important synagogues, was founded in 1885 by members of the Italian Jewish community of the city. The community, founded in 1862, was then called the foreign community, Cal di los Francos. Until then the community had used synagogues in several other buildings, and here had been the permanent place of prayer.

Until 1922, the Maftirim Choir of Istanbul sang in the synagogue. Here Rabbi Yitzhak Algazi also served as cantor in the 1920's and 1930's. He was considered one of the greatest Turkish cantors of all time.

In the 1930's, the Arab Revolt took place, where the Arabs in Palestine perpetrated riots against the Jews. At that time, rioters destroyed the original synagogue that stood here. A new synagogue, where you are now, was built.

In 1980 the synagogue was renovated, and in 1998 a central heating system was installed. Today there are not many worshipers, but Jews visit the place to get an impression and remember the warm community that lived here in the past.

#A Wedding in the Synagogue:


#A Closer Look:

Bialystoker Synagogue
#The Synagogue that was Once a Refuge for Slaves

The ancient building was built in 1826 and is located on the lower East Side. This neighborhood used to house mostly Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. The majority of the Jewish community abandoned the neighborhood around the 20th century, however, remains of the community remain, among the remains the Bialystoker Synagogue.

Originally the building of the synagogue was used as a Methodist church, and it was a hiding location for slaves who fled from the South. If you look closely, in the deck you will see the door and ladder towards the attic, where the slaves hid during the Civil War.

The building became a synagogue in 1905 when the Jewish community from Bialystoker brought over a two-story Holy Ark, made of wood and covered in gold. On the ceiling here you will see drawings of the zodiac paintings according to the Jewish calendar. To the prayer house arrive about 500 people on a weekly basis.
Hurva Synagogue
#About the Hurva Synagogue

The Hurva Synagogue in the middle of the Jewish Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem, is a synagogue named "Beit Jacob." This synagogue was built in the 18th century. A group of immigrants to Israel built this synagogue, whose leader was Rabbi Yehuda Hachasid. After being built, this group was unable to pay for the place, and the Arabs who lent the money and built the synagogue destroyed the building. Since then it has been referred to as "The ruins of the Ashkenazim."

Since then, the remains stood here for a long time. In the 19th century it was finally rebuilt but an orthodox group from among the students of the Vilna Ga'on, Rabbi Eliahu ben Shlomo Zalman.

When the Jordanian army conquered the Old City in 1948, The Arab League destroyed the synagogue. Actually, the destruction occurred even before, during the fights over the Jewish Quarter, when Jordanian soldiers blew up the synagogue, along with others, and the Arab League destroyed what was left.

Since that time, for many years, the synagogue's ruins remained. After the Six Day War and the conquering of the city by the Israeli Defense Force, the build received the nickname "the ruins," or in Hebrew- Hurva. The remains were untouched until 2010 when it was again rebuilt.

A Closer Look at Dancing at the Hurva Synagogue:


Prague Jewish Museum
#About Prague's Jewish Museum

History knows to tell that Hitler planned to build his diabolical museum in Prague to commemorate the extinct race, the Jewish faith. For this reason he prevented Nazi soldiers from destroying the synagogues in the Jewish Quarter in the city. Additionally, the Nazis gathered massive amounts of Judaica items. Everything was set up for the museum, the fruits of the thoughts of a cynical and original evil dictator. However, as per all our happiness, this museum was established by the Jews themselves after the victory over the Nazis.

The Prague Jewish Museum contains a large collection of rare Jewish art, a collection that attests of the long history and rich tradition of the Jews in Prague and all of Czechoslovakia.

The different museum wings are spread around Jewish sites around the whole city, for example the Maisel Synagogue, Klausen Synagogue, the Spanish Synagogue and the Pinkas Synagogue - the several buildings still standing from the Jewish ghetto in Prague. The ghetto is 1,000 years old, most of it destroyed in the 19th century, to construct wider streets in the city.

#What to See Here and Where?

The museum wings are spread around Prague, like;

Klausen Synagogue - Judaica displays and documents of ceremonies and Jewish holidays.

Maisel Synagogue - More from the Judaica displays, with a focus on textiles and books.

Pinkas Synagogue - Children drawings from the Theresienstadt Ghetto closed to the city, and the memorial walls for the Czechoslovakian Jews who were killed in the Holocaust, included 77,297 engraved names.


If you wanted to visit a few sites in the Jewish Quarter, you can buy a combination ticket, that includes entrance into all the sites.

Here is Part of the Prague Jewish Museum:


A Visit and Part of the Museum:

Great Synagogue of Rome
#About the Great Synagogue in Rome

At the beginning of the 20th century, the Jews' status improved in Europe as they gained emancipation. This meant they were granted equal civil, social, and political rights. This was when one of the most important buildings for the Jews was inaugurated - the Great Synagogue of Rome, (Tempio Maggiore di Roma) just opposite St. Angelo's Church.

The large and magnificent synagogue is also called "Izraelitiko." It can accommodate more than 1,000 worshipers, which proves how great it is. Note its square aluminum roof, which makes it so unique, since there are only a few in Rome.

Today the synagogue serves as a prayer place, as well as a Jewish museum, where Jewish artifacts and archeology are displayed, as well as ancient gravestones, documents and books on Italian Jewry.

#History of the Synagogue

For hundreds of years, due to a law forbidding the construction of new synagogues, the synagogue was divided into five different sections, each pertained to a different community. When the Jews of Rome were concentrated in the ghetto, they dispersed in the synagogues in this area.

It was only after the original building burnt down that this new structure was built. It became a symbol of the new rights of Italian Jews in the early 20th century. A sign of the appreciation and excitement surrounding the synagogue's inauguration is a memorial plaque on the wall which reads: "From Igura Rama to Birka Amikta". In loose terms, this means rising from a low pit to a high peak.

The synagogue was built in 1904, on the ruins of the ghetto. It was designed by Christian architects, since at that time the Jews could not study liberal professions, such as architecture. A few weeks before its inauguration, by the way, the new synagogue was visited by the King of Italy, Vittorio Emanuele III.

In 1986 there was a historic visit to the synagogue by Pope John Paul II. The Pope prayed with Rabbi Eliyahu Toaff, then Chief Rabbi of Rome. This was the first ever visit of a Pope to a synagogue. Before the visit, all the Torah scrolls were removed from the synagogue. This is due to the practice of the Jews of Italy, who claim that a synagogue without Torah scrolls in the Temple is not a holy place.

#The Synagogue's Architecture

The synagogue was built in a very impressive and massive building. It is a magnificent square structure that can be seen from a distance and certainly beyond the Tiber River, which flows on its southern side.

The style is known as "neo-classical". This means that it includes elements from the classical world, mainly Greek and Roman, but also motifs from Assyrian and Babylonian cultures. The large classical columns stand in front of it, giving it the appearance of a Roman temple. They are balanced in a square aluminum dome. This dome, of the Great Synagogue, can be seen from almost every point in Rome.

Inside the synagogue, the Holy Ark is also decorated as a small Greek temple. On either side of it, it is supported by two columns. Above the cover of the ark, stands the statues of the Tablets of the Law, and above them a seven-branched menorah.

The main prayer hall rises to a height of 46 meters and topped by the square dome. A hexagonal arched niche contains a kind of Holy Ark in a classic white and gold style.

The hall is divided by huge columns, headed by Greek titles. The walls feature numerous sculptings of lamps and a variety of medallions. The walls of the synagogue are adorned with flower-like decorations and stars on the ceiling and a variety of decorations in different colors. One cannot help but be moved by the many tablets on the walls here, which have the names of the Jewish victims who were killed or murdered in the two world wars engraved on them.

The women's section is located behind the pillars, in a gallery on the second floor. In the basement there is a synagogue for Sephardic prayers and at the separate entrance to the synagogue, on the river's side, are the offices of the Jewish community of Rome.

A small museum in the synagogue building contains about 1,000 Parochets and quite a few books and manuscripts. These documents the lives of the Jews in Italy, at different periods in history.

The building was designed by Vincenzo Costa and Oswaldo Armani. The two are not Jewish, since Jews were not allowed to study architecture at the time.

אֵאוּרִיקַה - האנציקלופדיה של הסקרנות!

העולם הוא צבעוני ומופלא, אאוריקה כאן בשביל שתגלו אותו...

אלפי נושאים, תמונות וסרטונים, מפתיעים, מסקרנים וממוקדים.

ניתן לנווט בין הפריטים במגע, בעכבר, בגלגלת, או במקשי המקלדת

בואו לגלות, לחקור, ולקבל השראה!

אֵאוּרִיקַה - האנציקלופדיה של הסקרנות!

נראה שכבר הכרתם את אאוריקה. בטח כבר גיליתם כאן דברים מדהימים, אולי כבר שאלתם שאלות וקיבלתם תשובות טובות.
נשמח לראות משהו מכם בספר האורחים שלנו: איזו מילה טובה, חוות דעת, עצה חכמה לשיפור או כל מה שיש לכם לספר לנו על אאוריקה, כפי שאתם חווים אותה.