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The Importance of the Synagogue

             There are three different terms to express the word "Synagogue". "Beit Ha Tefilah" means house of prayer, "Beit Ha Knesset" means house of assembly and "Beit Ha Midrash" means house of study. (Judaism Rabbi Scheinerman) Synagogues are not only places for worshiping God but also community centers, where people can read books, hold court, wedding ceremonies and festivals. (Rich) Jews started to go to synagogues after the main temple was destroyed. The varieties of roles that synagogues have and the different characteristics they have compared to the main temple made Jews want to go to synagogues to keep up living a religious life.
             Based on the popular theory, the first synagogue originated during the Babylonian captivity of 606-536 B.C. (The Synagogue) From that time people could not continue to worship God at the temple because enslaved Jewish exiles had been carried far from their homeland and Nebuchadnezzar had burned the temple to the ground. (Eckman) Since there was no way to obey the priestly and sacrificial regulations of the Torah, Jews created a new place to worship God. (Eckman) At first, synagogues were not the main place to worship God because there were still a second temple that was existed. After the destruction of second temple which happened in A.D.70, synagogues had become the dominant institution for Jews religious life. (Levertoff).
             Synagogues can be expressed as "Beit Ha Tefilah" or house of prayer because they serve a place where Jews come together for community prayer services. (Judaism Rabbi Scheinerman) Jews can satisfy the obligations of daily prayer by praying anywhere. However, there are certain prayers that can be only given in a group of people such as a minyan which requires ten adult men. (Judaism Rabbi Scheinerman) Tradition also teaches that there is more merit to praying within a group than praying alone.

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