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soc.culture.jewish FAQ: Worship, Conversion, Intermarriage (5/12)
Section - Question 9.10: What functions does a synagogue serve?

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                                  Answer:
   
   Synagogues typically serve in three different capacities:
    1. Beit tefilah, a house of prayer. Synagogues serve as a place where
       Jews come together for community prayer services. Jews can satisfy
       the obligations of daily prayer by praying anywhere; however,
       there are certain prayers that can only be said in the presence of
       a minyan (a quorum of 10 adult men), and tradition teaches that
       there is more merit to praying with a group than there is in
       praying alone. The sanctity of the synagogue for this purpose is
       second only to The Temple. In fact, in rabbinical literature, the
       synagogue is sometimes referred to as the "little Temple."
    2. Beit midrash, a house of study. Jewish education does not end at
       the age of bar mitzvah; the study of Judaism and sacred texts is a
       life-long task. Synagogues offer education to both children and
       adults and often have a well-stocked library.
    3. Beit knesset, a house of assembly. Synagogues often have a social
       hall for religious and non-religious activities. The synagogue
       provides a place where matters of importance to the community can
       be discussed, and social action concerns can be aired. Synagogues
       often provide social welfare functions, collecting and dispensing
       money and other items for the aid of the poor and needy within the
       community.

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Top Document: soc.culture.jewish FAQ: Worship, Conversion, Intermarriage (5/12)
Previous Document: Question 9.9: How is a synagogue operated?
Next Document: Question 9.11: What is the name of the Jewish God?

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