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List of oldest synagogues
  (Redirected from Oldest synagogues in the World)
Synagogues may be considered "oldest" based on different criteria. Many very old synagogues have been discovered in archaeological digs. Some synagogues have been destroyed and rebuilt several times on the same site, so while the site or congregation may be ancient, the building may be modern. Still other very old synagogue buildings exist, but have been used for many centuries as churches, mosques, or for other purposes. Some very old synagogues have been in continuous use as synagogues for many centuries.
The Old Synagogue in Erfurt, Germany, portions of which date from c.1100
The Santa María la Blanca synagogue was built in Toledo, Spain in 1190.
The Old New Synagogue in Prague, Bohemia (Czech Republic), the oldest synagogue in continuous use, built around 1270 compares similarly with the Ramban synagogue in Safed, modern Israel.
Worldwide
Standing buildings
According to legend, el Ghriba synagogue in Djerba, Tunisia was first built in 586 BCE or 70 CE, which would make it the oldest synagogue still standing and in continuous use in the world.[6][7] Two of the claimants to be the oldest structures still standing that were built as synagogues are the Old Synagogue in Erfurt, Germany, which was built c. 1100[8][9] and the Synagogue of Santa María la Blanca in Toledo, Spain, which was built in 1190. However, neither has been used as a synagogue for centuries.
The oldest active synagogue in the world is the Old New Synagogue of Prague in the Czech Republic, built in 1270s. The Ben Ezra Synagogue of Cairo has the honor of being the longest-serving synagogue in the world, having continuously served as one from 1025 until the mid 20th century. Owing to the migration of nearly all of Egypt's Jews to Israel (only 18 remained as of 2016[citation needed]), today the monument functions as a museum.
By country
Africa
Algeria
Synagogue of Tlemcen was built around 1392 when Rabbi Ephraim Alnaqua, a Spanish refugee who was the son of the author of Menorah, settled in Agadir, he obtained permission for Jews to settle in the city of Tlemcen, where he built a synagogue.
Egypt
Stone synagogue dedication inscriptions stones found in middle and lower Egypt (see above), and dating from the 3rd century BCE, are the oldest synagogue fragments found anywhere in the World.
Libya
Slat Abn Shaif Synagogue, in Zliten, Libya, was built around 1060 and destroyed in the 1980s.
Tunisia
El Ghriba synagogue, according to legend, the construction of the synagogue goes back to the High Priests' escape following the destruction of Solomon's Temple by the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar II in the year 586 BCE (or, alternately, the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE). The High Priests carried with them a door and a stone of the destroyed Temple. Thus the synagogue links the Jewish diaspora to the "sole sanctuary of Judaism".[7] In modern times, the local Jews are distinguished by their dress, which includes a black band around their pants, which signifies the destruction of the Temple.[10]
South Africa
The Gardens Shul, established 1841, is the oldest congregation in South Africa. Its 1863 building, which is still standing, may be the oldest synagogue building in the country. Rabbi Osher Feldman is the Rabbi of the Gardens Shul.
Asia
Afghanistan
In Herat, Afghanistan, the Yu Aw Synagogue still stands. There is no definitive date for the synagogue.[11]
India
The Paradesi Synagogue in Kochi, India
In Kochi, in the South Indian state of Kerala, Paradesi Synagogue is believed to be built in 1568. It is the oldest Jewish synagogue in India that is still existing and in active use, although there are even older ones still existing but not in active use anymore.
The oldest of India's synagogue buildings can be found in the state of Kerala, where synagogue construction began during the medieval period. Whereas Kerala’s first Jewish houses of prayer said to be from the eleventh through the 13th centuries perished long ago as a consequence of natural disasters, enemy attacks, or the abandonment of buildings when congregations shifted, as did the earliest confirmed synagogue in Kochangadi authenticated to 1344 by a surviving building inscription now found in the courtyard of the Paradesi synagogue in Kochi's Jew Town, those originating from the 16th and 17th centuries subsist. These extant synagogues, though altered over time, include not only the oldest found on the Indian subcontinent but in the British Commonwealth.
The consensus among historians based on a compilation of limited recorded history and a mélange of oral narratives is that first synagogues in Kerala were not built until the medieval period. Various Kerala Jews and the scholars who have studied the community believe that the earliest synagogues in the region date to the early 11th century. According to a narrative, a Kerala Jew by the name of Joseph Rabban who accepted on behalf of his community copper plates granting the local Jews a set of privileges by the Hindu King Bhaskara Ravi Varman was also given wood by his Highness for the erection of a synagogue around 1000. While no physical evidence of this and any other similar period building survives, study of the literature, Jewish folksongs, and narratives supports the notion that synagogues likely stood in Malabar Coast towns, places now within the modern-day State of Kerala, from this epoch. A portion of these medieval-period buildings perished when the Kerala Jews had to leave them behind under the threat of persecution by the Moors and the Portuguese or as a result of natural disasters. The balance was rebuilt as a consequence of naturally occurring or intentionally set fires, modernization efforts, or assorted other variables.[12]
Iraq
A rabbi in the American army found an abandoned, dilapidated synagogue near Mosul dating back to the 13th century.[13] It is located two miles northeast of Mosul, across the Tigris River, in a city called Nineveh, the city to which the prophet Jonah was sent to preach repentance. The Nineveh Synagogue was constructed by Daud Ibn Hodaya al-Daudi, Exilarch of Mosul. There is record of a second synagogue in Mosul, as early as 990, when the Gaon of Sura, Semah ibn Yitzhak,[14] mentions "Sahl Aluf ibn Aluf our representative in Mosul", in 1170 Benjamin of Tudela notes that there are about 7,000 Jews in Mosul. In later years, when Petachiah of Regensburg visited Mosul, Nineveh was in ruins.[15]
Israel
Main article: Oldest synagogues in Israel
See also: Ancient synagogues in Palestine and List of oldest synagogues § Palestinian territories
Ruins of the ancient synagogue of Kfar Bar'am in the Galilee
In Israel, archaeologists have uncovered many ruins of synagogues from 2000 or more years ago, placing them in the time before the 70 CE destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem.
Other ancient post-70 CE synagogues are:
Jordan
In Jerash, Jordan, the remnants of a synagogue dating from Late Antiquity have been found.
Lebanon
Lebanon's Deir el Qamar Synagogue.
Myanmar
The Musmeah Yeshua Synagogue in Rangoon (Yangon) was originally built in 1854.
Located between shops and traders, the synagogue is still operating for the small community of Burmese Jews who live in Rangoon.
Syria
Turkey
Australia
Europe
Interior of the 13th-century Old New Synagogue of Prague. Built around 1270, it is the world's oldest active synagogue.
Albania
A 5th or 6th century synagogue has been discovered in the costal city of Saranda, Albania. Impressive remains of a 5th or 6th century AD synagogue have been uncovered in the coastal city of Saranda, Albania, which lies just opposite the Greek island of Corfu.
Albania's recent Synagogue was built around 1500 in Vlorë (in Italian, Valona) by a community of 609 Sephardic Jewish Families fleeing the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions. The Vlorë Synagogue was destroyed during World War I and not rebuilt. Of historic note, in 1675, the Messianic pretender Sabbatai Zevi died in exile at Ulcinj, Montenegro, a nearby town without a Jewish population.[35]
Austria
Some 100 meters NE of the town square, the Rossmuehl Synagogue served Korneuburg's Jewish community until the Expulsion of 1420. The property was converted to storage and various plans have been put forth to renovate the structure. Unfortunately, the Austrian Jewish Community (IKG) has shown no interest in assisting local groups and government agencies in the preservation of the structure, which is one of the oldest synagogues in Europe.
Belarus
Belgium
The Arlon Synagogue was the first synagogue in modern Belgium, built between 1863-1865. [37]
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Sarajevo Sephardic Old Synagogue built in 1587
"Il Cal Grande Esnoga," a Sephardic synagogue in the Jewish Quarter known as "el Cortijo," was built in 1587. The first Sephardim to arrive in Sarajevo arrived in 1565 during the Spanish Inquisition.[38]
Croatia
Czech Republic
The Alteneu Shul (Old-New Synagogue) (see above), in Prague, in the Czech Republic, which dates from the 13th century (probably 1270), is the oldest active synagogue building in Europe.
Denmark
The Great Synagogue in Copenhagen, Denmark was built in 1833.
France
Entrance to the synagogue and gateway to the old Ghetto in Avignon
Germany
Greece
Hungary
Ireland
Italy
The Scolanova Synagogue, Trani, Italy, built around 1200.
North Macedonia
Netherlands
The Portuguese Synagogue (Amsterdam) – on December 12, 1670, the Sephardic Jewish community of Amsterdam acquired the site to build a synagogue and construction work began on April 17, 1671, under architect Elias Bouwman. On August 2, 1675, the Esnoga was finished.
Inside of the Old Synagogue, Kraków
Poland
Main article: Synagogues of Kraków
Portugal
Romania
The 1671 Great Synagogue in Iaşi is the oldest surviving synagogue in Romania.[59]
Russia
14th century Córdoba Synagogue
Spain
Slovenia
The Maribor Synagogue (a/k/a Marburg Synagogue), first mentioned in 1429, was built in the 14th century. Located at Zidovska ulica 4 in the Jewish Square Zidovski trg, it is among some of the oldest still standing Synagogues in Europe.[60] The first documented evidence of a Jewish presence in Slovenia dates to the 13th century when Yiddish and Italian-speaking Jews migrated south from Austria.[61]
Ukraine
United Kingdom
Main article: Oldest synagogues in the United Kingdom
North America
Touro Synagogue, Newport, Rhode Island, completed in 1763
The Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island, is the oldest Jewish house of worship in North America that is still standing. It was built in 1759 for the Jeshuat Israel congregation, which was established in 1658.
Canada
Main article: Oldest synagogues in Canada
United States
Main article: Oldest synagogues in the United States
South America and Caribbean
The Kahal Zur Israel Synagogue, located in Recife stands on the site of the earliest synagogue in the Americas.
Recife, Brazil
The Kahal Zur Israel Synagogue in Recife, Brazil, erected in 1636, was the first synagogue erected in the Americas. Its foundations have been recently discovered, and the 20th-century buildings on the site have been altered to resemble a 17th-century Dutch synagogue.
Jamaica
The first synagogue, a Sephardic Synagogue, was built in Port Royal in approximately 1646, but was destroyed during the earthquake of 1692. Another Synagogue, Neveh Shalom Synagogue, was established on Spanish Town's Monk Street in 1704, but today lies largely in ruins. The only synagogue still in current use, Shaare Shamayim in Kingston, was built in 1912.
Barbados
Nidhe Israel Synagogue in Bridgetown, Barbados: one of the oldest Synagogues in the Americas, standing since 1654, restored and used by the Jewish community in Barbados to this day.
Argentina
Synagogue in Aldea San Gregorio, Entre Ríos. Built in 1893, today abandoned.
Suriname
Curaçao
The Jewish community was founded in 1659. The Curaçao synagogue, congregation Mikvé Israel-Emanuel, built in 1732. It is the oldest synagogue still in use today in the Americas.[citation needed] When Jews were expelled from the French islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe the number of Jews in Curaçao increased and by 1780 reached 2,000, more than half of the white population. The Curaçao community became the "mother community" of The Americas and assisted other communities in the area, mainly in Suriname and St. Eustatius. It also financed the construction of the first synagogues in New York and Newport.[citation needed]
Sint Eustatius
The Honen Dalim Synagogue, Oranjestad, Sint Eustatius, built in 1739, fallen into ruins after the economy of the island collapsed and the Jews started to leave the island from 1795 to the point where there was no Jewish community left. Partially restored in 2001.
St Thomas – United States Virgin Islands
The St. Thomas Synagogue in the United States Virgin Islands was founded in 1796 by Jews who left St. Eustatius (see above).
See also
References
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Last edited on 25 April 2021, at 19:10
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