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The synagogue: from the 6th century BC

The synagogue is believed to derive, as an institution, from the years of exile in Babylon. Public worship has previously been performed in the Temple at Jerusalem. The synagogue, no doubt at first a temporary solution, proves in the long term a crucial element in the Jewish ability to worship anywhere. A room and the Scrolls of the Law are all that is needed.

After the return to Jerusalem, synagogues develop in Judah alongside the more elaborate Temple ceremonies. The Temple will be destroyed again, and the synagogue will prove its value in the Diaspora (the dispersed community of Jews). The earliest dated evidence of a synagogue is far from Jerusalem - in Alexandria, in the 3rd century BC.

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