The Great Synagogue of Rome

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 480 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Jan 15, 2019

Words: 480|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Jan 15, 2019

Replacing the ancient temple in Jerusalem, a synagogue is a building vital to the Jewish religion; it is where worship services are held, beit tefilah (a house for prayer), the study of god, and in some cases, beit midrash (a house for study). The word “synagogue” translates to the term “temple”, meaning that to reform Jews, the synagogue is a permanent replacement for the ancient Temple. They believe that even if it were possible, there would be no need to rebuild the Temple or resume sacrifices, so the synagogue is the only “temple” that will ever be needed. However, many non-reform Jews find this term offensive, feeling that it lacks reverence for the true temple. In orthodox Judaism, the house of worship is called the shul, a Yiddish word derived from the German word for “school”. Conservative Jews use the word “synagogue”. So when in doubt, “synagogue” is the best term to use as it is the least offensive and the most widely understood.

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Established in 1555, in the Rione Sant’Angelo, near the Tiber River in the southern part of Campo de’Fiori, Rome’s Jewish Ghetto is one of the best attractions in Rome and also one of its least-known; it is the oldest Jewish community in all of Europe, dating all the way back to the second century. Jews came from Judea when the Roman empire had an alliance of sorts with them under the leadership of Judah Maccabeus, a Jewish priest. Its borders were laid down in a Papal Bull, which is a type of public decree, letters patent, or charter issued by a pope, along with various discriminatory laws about what professions Jews could and could not hold. Selling fish was among one of the accepted professions, which still lends its name to the streets in the area of the old fish market.

The great synagogue of Rome was constructed shortly after the unification of Italy in 1870, when the Kingdom of Italy captured Rome and the Papal States ceased to exist. The Roman ghetto was demolished and the Jews were granted citizenship. The building which had previously housed the ghetto synagogue (a complicated structure housing five synagogues in a single building) was demolished, and the Jewish community began making plans for a new, impressive building. The synagogue was attacked on October 9, 1982 by armed Palestinian militants at the closing of the morning Sabbath service, only one person, a toddler, was killed, and 37 others were injured. Although no group had claimed responsibility, one of the assailants was identified as Osama Abdel al-Zomar, an alleged member of the Abu Nidal terrorist organization, who was later arrested in Greece for the illegal smuggling of explosives. He was transported to Libya in 1989. A plate has been fixed at the entrance of the synagogue in commemoration of the attack, and another plate in remembrance of Stefano Gaj Tache, the late toddler.

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The great synagogue of Rome. (2019, January 15). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 21, 2024, from
“The great synagogue of Rome.” GradesFixer, 15 Jan. 2019,
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