What Are the Holy Buildings in Judaism?

Written by devon willis
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What Are the Holy Buildings in Judaism?
People come to the Western Wall in huge numbers every year to offer their prayers. (Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Judaism is one of the oldest known religions of the world and is one of the biggest monotheistic (only one god) religions. There are approximately more than 13 million Jews in the world, with the majority living in Israel and the United States. Jews are also found in Canada, Russia and many parts of Europe including the United Kingdom. Judaism as a religion originated roughly 3,500 years ago in the Middle East, and was founded by Moses, although Jewish history can be traced to the time of Abraham, called the father of the nation. Jews worship in synagogues, read the Torah, their holy book, and are led spiritually by rabbis.

Western Wall, Jerusalem, Israel

Ha-Kotel Ha-Ma'aravi, or the Western Wall, is one of the holiest Jewish sites in Jerusalem, Israel. It was built in 20 B.C. by King Herod as part of the expansion of the Temple enclosure. The wall is the last remaining remnant of what was the Second Temple. Jews gather at the wall to lament the loss of their temple; for this reason, it has been named the "Wailing Wall." The wall was destroyed by the Romans together with the Temple in A.D. 70. People face the wall to pray and put their prayer requests, written on paper, in the crevices of the wall.

The Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem

The Dome of the Rock, or Qubbat al-Sakhrah, is considered a holy Jewish site and an Islamic holy site. The Jews believe that it marks the exact spot where Abraham came to sacrifice his son Isaac in obedience to God's command. Muslims believe that it marks the place where the prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven. The Jews believed this to be a holy building long before Islam came into being. It has another symbolic value; it is believed to stand over the site where King Solomon built the first Temple or the Holy of Holies.

Crusader Building - Tomb of King David, Mount Zion, Israel

The tomb of King David is housed in the Crusader building together with the Upper Room. It is one of the holy buildings connected with the Jewish faith. It has been revered as a holy place for centuries. Since Israel's establishment as a nation state in 1948, Mount Zion, where the tomb is built, has become a Jewish holy place. According to the Bible, King David was buried in the City of David on the eastern hill; it is unlikely that this was the original site of his burial.

Hurva Synagogue, Jerusalem

Synagogues are to Jews what churches are to Christians, their holiest places. The Hurva Synagogue is located in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem. Construction began in 1700 under Rabbi Judah the Hassid's leadership but was discontinued upon his death. In 1721 the synagogue was destroyed, and it is from the ruins that the synagogue got its name -- Hurva. Ibrahim Pasha reconstructed it in 1856 in Neo-Byzantine style, but it was destroyed by the Jordanian Arab Legion. Work to reconstruct this Jewish holy place began again for a third time and was completed in 2010, at which time the dedication of the synagogue was completed.

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