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The term synagogue may refer either to a building that serves as a site for Jewish prayer and study or to a collective of Jewish community members who constitute a congregation. Since the origins of synagogue buildings, likely in the first century CE, they have formed an essential component of Jewish community life. Synagogues have facilitated the preservation and innovation of Jewish practices and traditions in historical and geographical contexts in which Jews often constituted a persecuted minority of the population. Today, synagogues exist all over the world and serve as important prayer and meeting spaces for Jews both in Israel and in the Jewish Diaspora.

In Greek, “synagoge” means “gathering” or “assembly,” and although it is usually translated as a gathering place, it can also ...

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