Some facts about  synagogues

 

 

What is the name ''synagogue''?

 

Name "synagogue" is from a Greek root meaning "assembly". (http://www.jewfaq.org/defs/synagogue.htm)

 

When and where did the synagogues appear?

Most likely the synagogues appeared after Babylonian captivity (6-th century B.C.) (Biblical Encyclopedia of Brockhous. In Russian, Germany, 1999, p.897).     

How many synagogues were in Israel at first century?

We can read in the Catholic Encyclopedia: ''At the time of the destruction of Jerusalem (A.D. 70) there were in the city itself 394 synagogues, according to the Babylonian Talmud (Keth., 105a); 480, according to the Jerusalem Talmud (Megilla 73d).'' (The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XIV http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14379b.htm)
 

Where were synagogues in the first century else?

 

In many places:

Matt 9:35 And Yeshua (Jesus) went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.

 

in Galilee:

Matt 4:23 And Yeshua (Jesus) went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.

 

in Capernaum:

Mark 1:21 And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught.

 

in Nazareth: 

Luke 4:16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.

 

at Salamis:

Acts 13:5 And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to [their] minister.

 

at Antioch in Pisidia:

Acts 13:14 But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down.

 

in Thessalonica:

Acts 17:1 Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews:

 

in Berea:

Acts 17:10 And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming [thither] went into the synagogue of the Jews.

 

in Corinth:

Acts 18:1 After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth;

Acts 18:2 And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them.

Acts 18:3 And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.

Acts 18:4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.

 

in Ephesus:

Acts 18:19 And he came to Ephesus, and left them there: but he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews.

 

 

About the prayers in synagogues in the first centuries

''Our Rabbis taught: Once a certain disciple went down  before the Ark in the presence of R. Eliezer, and he span out the prayer to a great length. His disciples said to him: Master, how longwinded this fellow is! He replied to them: Is he drawing it out any more than our Master Moses, of whom it is written: The forty days and the forty nights [that I fell down]?  Another time it happened that a certain disciple went down before the Ark in the presence of R. Eliezer, and he cut the prayer very short. His disciples said to him: How concise this fellow is! He replied to them: Is he any more concise than our Master Moses, who prayed, as it is written: Heal her now, O God, I beseech Thee?" (Berakoth 34a http://www.come-and-hear.com/berakoth/berakoth_34.html)
 

In Talmud (Taanith 16a) we can read about that each Jew could to preach at synagogue about t'shuva (the repentance). "The sages taught: if there is the elder let the elder to speak, if there is a sage let a sage to speak, but if there are no (them) let a man to speak who is in (good) form..."    

 

Who must read a prayer? Talmud explains that even if there is the elder or a sage there an usual man can read a prayer. As Gemara explains: a handsome, hard-working man whose house is without sin, he (this man) knows Torah, midrashes and halachah ok, he has a good voice. This man read a prayer...


Shma

''The origin of the Shema', as of other portions of Jewish liturgy, is unknown. It seems undoubtedly to be pre-Christian.'' (The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XIV
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14379b.htm)

- - -

 

The rulers of the synagogue in Antioch in Pisidia allowed to the disciples of Yeshua to share the Good News with people:

 

Acts 13:14 But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down.

Acts 13:15 And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, [Ye] men [and] brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.

 

 

Were the leaders of the synagogues who believed in Yeshua? 

 

We can read in Acts:

Acts 18:8 And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.

 

About the Jewish charity in Ukraine in the end of 19-th century - at the beginning of 20-th century

 

A characteristic feature of the Jewish charity in the end of 19-th century - at the beginning of 20-th century in Ukraine was an overall, complex public welfare: the financial help, the dinners, the education, the social treatment (the hospitals, the sanatoriums and so on) etc.

 

Kharkov

 

At the beginning of 20-th century in Kharkov Jews actively practised charity. There were the Society of helping to poor Jews of Kharkov. This society had:

 

- The department of the distribution of the cash benefits and the other help;

- The cheap dining room and the tea-room;

- The Jewish man's school;

- The Jewish woman's school with an industrial department;

- The free ambulance station;

- The field hospital for wounded soldiers (''All Kharkov for 1916 year'', Kharkov, 1916, p.177).

 

There were both the paid dinners and free dinners in the cheap dining room. The pensioners, soldiery and the prisoners received the free dinners. In the 1915 year the dining room gave 193,024 dinners (162,533 of them were paid ones, 25,494 were free ones and 4,997 were for staff).  (''The report on an activity of the Society of helping to poor Jews of Kharkov for 1915 year'', Kharkov, 1916, p.34).

 

There were the Jewish funeral brotherhood (''All Kharkov for 1916 year'', Kharkov, 1916, p.178), Kharkov department of the society of the public health service of the Jewish people, Kharkov Jewish committee of the helping to war victims (ib., p.186), Kharkov department of the society of the education's dissemination between Jews in Russia (ib., 188), a man's gymnasium with the boarding school for Jewish children (ib., 108), a kindergarten of the society of the education between the Jews in Russia (ib., 126).

 

Kiev and Odessa

 

In Kiev and Odessa there were many charitable organizations. Odessa congregation had free hospital for poor people, orphanage, free dining room, an old people's home, country-sanatoriums for ill children. Kiev congregation had free hospitals, the ambulance stations, surgical hospital, sanatorium for consumptives, child's sanatorium etc. Jews quite often helped to Christians too: during the hunger of 1891 year the congregation of Romni of Poltava province collected 1,000 roubles for needy peasants, the congregations of Proskurov and of small town Novaya Ushitza (Podolsk province) collected in 500 roubles (Electronic Jewish encyclopedia http://www.eleven.co.il/article/15409).

 

Kiev department of the Society for education's dissemination between Jews in Russia had two Jewish kindergarten, exemplary heder (Jewish school), Saturday's school for adult people, a library which counted almost 6,500 books etc. (Electronic Jewish encyclopedia http://www.eleven.co.il/?mode=article&id=12072&query=КИЕВ)

 

Odessa department of the Society for education's dissemination between Jews in Russia in 1910 year supported 13 primary schools and four evening schools (almost 2,000 people studied there) (Electronic Jewish encyclopedia http://www.eleven.co.il/?mode=article&id=13047&query=ОДЕССА)

 

Lvov (Lviv) and Chernovtzi

 

Many Jews lived on philanthropy. In Lvov (Lviv) in the end of 19-th century - at the beginning of 20-th century there were 86 congregational and almost 200 private charitable organizations which helped to needy people. There were the Jewish orphanage, a hospital, an old people's home too. The Jewish orphanage was established in the beginning of 20-th century in Chernovtzi. This orphanage was one of the most well-equipped ones in Europe. (Electronic Jewish encyclopedia  http://www.eleven.co.il/article/15409)

 

In the end of 19-th century - at the beginning of 20-th century in the Eastern Galitzia and the Northern Bukovina took place the marked change. Tens Jewish schools and secondary special educational institutions were established (together with heders (Jewish schools) which were at synagogues with the help of Bnai-Brith, Hilfsferein ("Help Organization" in Yiddish) and especially a charitable fund of baron M.Girsh who donated 4 millions dollars in 1891 for these aims). (Electronic Jewish encyclopedia  http://www.eleven.co.il/article/15409)

 

Dnepropetrovsk

 

The end of 19-th century... The Jewish congregation was one of the most organized ones in Russia. A congregation had a system of educated (incl. yeshiva) and charitable institutions. (Electronic Jewish encyclopedia   http://www.eleven.co.il/?mode=article&id=11444&query=ДНЕПРОПЕТРОВСК)

 

 


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

 

 

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