A synagogue, also spelled synagog, is a Jewish house of prayer.
Synagogues have a large hall for prayer (the main sanctuary), and may also have smaller rooms for study and sometimes a social hall and offices. Some have a separate room for Torah study, called the Beith Midrash (Sefaradi) "beis midrash (Ashkenazi)—בית מדרש ("House of Study").
Synagogues are consecrated spaces used for the purpose of prayer, Torah reading, study and assembly; however a synagogue is not necessary for worship. Halakha holds that Communal Jewish worship can be carried out wherever ten Jews (a minyan) assemble. Worship can also be carried out alone or with fewer than ten people assembled together. However, Halakha considers certain prayers as communal prayers and therefore they may be recited only by a minyan. The synagogue does not replace the long-since destroyed Temple in Jerusalem.
Israelis use the Hebrew term Beyt Knesset (house of assembly). Jews of Ashkenazi descent have traditionally used the Yiddish term shul (cognate with the German Schule, school) in everyday speech. Sephardi Jews and Romaniote Jews generally use the term kal (from the Hebrew Ḳahal, meaning "community"). Spanish Jews call the synagogue a sinagoga and Portuguese Jews call it an esnoga. Persian Jews and some Karaite Jews also use the non-Hebrew term kenesa, which is derived from Aramaic, and some Arab Jews use kenis. Reform and some Conservative Jews use the word "temple." The Greek word "synagogue" is used in English (and German and French), to cover the preceding possibilities.
Source: Synagogue from Wikipedia
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