Directions: Click the Stars of David to learn more about the model synagogue.
Built in 1876, Wilmington’s Temple of Israel is North Carolinas oldest synagogue and one of the oldest Reform temples in America.
For more information about the Temple of Israel visit: http://www.temple-of-israel.org/about-us/our-history.
Elements of a Synagogue
1) Stained Glass is featured in some synagogues.
2) A memorial plaque records the names in Hebrew and English of synagogue members who have died. Lights next to their names are lit annually to commemorate the anniversary or yahrzeit (“year’s time” in Yiddish) of their death.
3) The Holy Ark (Aron HaKodesh in Hebrew) is the focal point of the synagogue. It houses the Torah scrolls, just as the ancient Jerusalem temple’s Holy of Holies once held the Ark of the Covenant.
4) The Bimah (“high place”) is a raised platform at the front of the synagogue where prayer leaders and Torah readers go up (aliyah in Hebrew) to offer prayers to God.
5) Pews in Reform and Conservative congregations seat men and women together. In Orthodox synagogues, men and women have their own sections.
6) The Torah reader’s desk serves as a pulpit for the prayer leader and a table for the reading from the open scroll, the climax of Sabbath worship.
7) The Ner Tamid (“eternal lamp”) above the ark honors the commandment to keep a light forever burning before the Ark of the Covenant.