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Select, describe and explain the essential features to be found in an orthodox synagogue.

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Religious Studies Coursework Judaism Q1. Select, describe and explain the essential features to be found in an orthodox synagogue. Recall, select, organize and deploy knowledge of Jewish belief and sources of authority, practice and organisation. The main function of the Jewish synagogue is worship, with the emphasis on prayer and reading. For Jews the synagogue is not just a building the word synagogue also refers to the community or congregation. The main features of all synagogues, especially the symbols, are designed to help people to worship God. The layout of the building is rectangular, with seats arranged on three sides. The fourth side (the East wall) ...read more.


The ends of the scroll are attached to wooden poles called etz chaim (tree of life). In the Ark the scrolls are often kept covered or bound in silk or velvet. Sometimes they are kept in wooden cases decorated with silk and silver ornaments. Gods presence within the synagogue is symbolised by the Ner Tamid - the everlasting light, positioned above the Ark is never extinguished, this helps the Jews to feel God at all times and also shows respect for the holiness of the Torah scrolls. It represents the Menorah the oil light of the tabernacle. Many modern synagogues use an electric light but a few still have the traditional oil lamp. ...read more.


The only exceptions to this are that some synagogues display the Star of David (Magen David), a menorah and two lions that represent the tribe of Judah from which the Messiah is expected to come. In accordance with tradition, in Orthodox synagogues you will also find a separate section where the women sit. This may be on an upper floor balcony, in the back of the room, or on the side of the room, separated from the men's section by a wall or curtain (mechitzah). In some Orthodox circles men and women do not study together, dance together or touch non-family-members of the opposite sex. Men are not permitted to pray in the presence of women, because they are supposed to have their minds on their prayers and not be distracted by women. Whereas in reform synagogues men and women sit, study and worship together. ...read more.

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