Jewish Places of Worship

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Jewish Places of Worship
Over time the location and ways in which people of Jewish descent ritualize their religion has changed. If one reviews the history of the Jewish faith it is seen that these changes parallel many of the bigger events that occurred in the past. The most significant change in how the religion was worshipped occurred when the exile of the Jews took place. This caused Jews to be forced away from their temples that they had become accustomed to worshipping in. The Jewish people were no longer able to sacrifice, but prayer could continue. From this point on, the Jewish people never returned to worship based upon a central temple and prayer outside of temple occurring in only a synagogue. Having been forced away from their traditions, they needed to adapt their religion in order for it to continue. They continued to pray three times each day and followed the general tradition of temple service. Yet, they were now able to pray at home or in places other than a synagogue or temple. From here, the synagogue began to develop as the major house of worship for Jews, rather than a place of worship second to the temple and used only for prayer and study.

The first synagogues have very little remains and history left. What is known through the writings of Philo, is that some of the earliest synagogues were located in Alexandria, but no remains were ever found of theses buildings. Early synagogues that could be recovered show that they were based upon Roman architecture. Some may have been originally used for alternative purposes. From here the synagogues developed a theme that is a basis for many houses of worship today that exist today.

The first important aspect of Jewish Synagogues is that they be located in the proper place. The site of these buildings, based on the Tosepheta, should be in the highest place of the city and facing to the East. The reason for facing the buildings to the East was so that the congregations would pray...
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