People of the Jewish faith worship in synagogues and at home.
'Synagogue' is a Greek word that simply means 'assembly'.
In Jewish parlance a synagogue is known by a number of different names all describing its functions.
A synagogue, in contrast to other buildings of worship such as some Christian churches, has no intrinsic sanctity.
It is not the building that is sacred but the tasks that people perform when they meet in the synagogue.
While synagogues have developed distinctive architectural features which are associated with major architectural traditions, these are determined by the use to which the building is put, but not part of the sacredness of the place.
Synagogues, regardless of the Jewish religious movement they belong to, share a number of features common to all synagogue buildings.
The home is also a key place of worship. For many Jewish families the Sabbath, the weekly day of rest, is begun at home.
Here is an Israeli version of 'Lecha Dodi', a traditional song welcoming Shabbat.
The text of this virtual reconstruction of a synagogue is in German, but clicking on the images gives views of the synagogue via quicktime movies.
The Remuh Synagogue is now one of the only active public places of Jewish worship in Krakow, Poland. It was founded in the mid 16th century and survived the Nazi occupation of Poland. Photo by R. Aechtner
This article was published on May 12, 2011