Q:

What is the difference between a temple and a synagogue?

A:

Quick Answer

The main difference between the terms "synagogue," "temple" and the related "shul" is the tradition and intent of the person using the term. Any of the three names can be applied to a place of worship in the Jewish faith, but some terms are preferred over others by different groups for various reasons.

Continue Reading
What is the difference between a temple and a synagogue?
Credit: Spaces Images Blend Images Getty Images

Full Answer

In Hebrew, the structure in which a congregation meets for worship services is called a "Beit K'nesset." This translates as "place of assembly." The Hebrew term isn't commonly used among English speakers. Orthodox and Hasidic believers sometimes use the word "shul" to describe their place of worship. This word is Yiddish and derives from the German "schule," meaning school. Its use is a clue to the educational role Orthodox Jews see for their religious services.

"Synagogue" is derived from the Greek translation of Beit K'nesset, and is fairly neutral. The word is favored by Conservative Jews as a faithful translation of the original Hebrew term, and it is commonly used across sectarian boundaries as a compromise between Orthodox and Reform traditions.

"Temple" is a word commonly used by Reform Jews. Referring to a site as a temple expresses the largely Reform opinion that any place Jews practice their faith is the equal of the Temple of Jerusalem. This has the potential to offend some Orthodox believers, further encouraging use of the all-purpose word "synagogue."

Learn more about Religion
Sources:

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What are Judaism's places of worship called?

    A:

    In the Jewish faith, a place of worship is called a temple, shul or synagogue. The synagogue is similar to a Christian church. It serves as a social center and as a place to pray and study. It is the center of the religious community.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are some Masonic temple rituals?

    A:

    Some Masonic rituals include prayer, circumambulation, symbolic use of the altar, presenting the lambskin apron and significance of the gavel. The Master or Chaplain must open and close all Masonic Lodges with prayer that is universal, and at the end of the prayer, members say "So mote it be," which means, "So may it ever be."

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the Golden Temple made out of?

    A:

    The Golden Temple of the Sikh religion is made of masonry, marble, wood, gold, copper and ivory. It is also inlaid with glass and valuable jewels. The temple is in the city of Amritsar in northern India, sharing a border with Pakistan.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How do non-denomination churches preach for multiple base religions?

    A:

    Generally, a non-denominational church has a basis in the Christian tradition without following one of the many denominations of that religion. As such, it does not preach on the basis of other world religions such as Islam, Judaism, Buddhism or Hinduism.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore