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The Synagogue

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Chapter Summary

The synagogue was one of the most stabilizing institutions in Jewish society in the Land of Israel and in the Diaspora during the era of the Second Temple and afterwards. It was where townsfolk or villagers assembled for divine service, and the centre towards which all religious, cultural and social life gravitated. This was primarily due to the special character of divine service in the synagogue. Men, women and children came to the synagogue every sabbath, as well as on feast-days and special occasions. On the sabbath, the congregation stayed for hours, praying, listening to Scripture reading and the explanations given by a sage or by some member of the public. Just as the Temple had been the centre of national life, so too the synagogue was the rallying-point for community life in the towns and villages of the Land of Israel and the Diaspora.

Keywords: Jewish society; Land of Israel; Second Temple; Synagogue



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