Skip to Main Content

Synagogues and Jewish Communal Institutions: Synagogues

Synagogues - Introduction

The synagogue has been the focus of Jewish life since at least the first century CE.  Besides being a place for daily prayer, the synagogue provides a space for communal celebrations - births, weddings and b’nai mitzvah (bar and bat mitzvah). The Jewish community that forms around a synagogue generally concerns itself with the welfare of its members forming societies for visiting the sick, educating the young and supporting the bereaved. The synagogue also often promotes social and cultural events.

Synagogues - Resources at NYPL

Resources at NYPL's collection:

For additional results the catalog should be searched in more than one way. One is by conducting a subject search in our Shared Collection Catalog and typing the name of the institution or synagogue.  Since many books about synagogues do not indicate their name, the next step would be doing a subject search by their location.  To conduct a subject search click on the words ‘All fields’ in the dropdown menu, and select 'Subject'.  It may start with a broader search for the location, such as Synagogues -- Afghanistan. In a country where there are many synagogues, adding the name of the city or town will bring more specific results, for example: Synagogues -- Alabama -- Birmingham.  When none of these options yield results, doing an advanced keyword search in our Shared Collection Catalog and typing keywords such as synagogues in one box, and Jerusalem in another.  

Among the subject headings are:

Synagogues -- Germany with more than 200 subheadings

Synagogues -- Italy with more than 50 subheadings.

Synagogues -- New York (State) with more than 50 subheadings.

Directories of synagogues - can be found by conducting an Advanced Search using the subject word  Synagogues and the Subject word Directories.

Postcards - to explore our vast collection postcards of synagogues conduct an advanced search using the subject word 'Synagogues' and the subject word 'Postcards'.

To facilitate finding information about synagogues this guide includes listings and links to records in our vast collection of major synagogues worldwide. 

They are arranged by counties, towns, and the name of the synagogue.

Each entry provides a link to the item in our catalog, and also specifies the language of the book.

To access information about synagogues please click on their location:

Europe             United States             Latin America and the Caribbean             Africa                Asia             Australia

Synagogues - Further research

Online resources:

Here is a list of some informative websites about synagogues around the world: 

- Inventory of the Historic Synagogues of Europe, created and maintained by the Center for Jewish Art at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; sponsored by the Foundation for Jewish Heritage. 
Synagogues of the World by The Jewish Virtual Library. 
- Directory of Synagogues around the World, by Kosher Delight.  (To see a full list of countries click on ‘Select a Country' in the drop-down menu). 
Synagogues Shuls and Jewish Temples by MavenSearch provides basic information about synagogues worldwide. 
List of synagogues - these Wikipedia pages provide links to their entries of specific synagogues worldwide.
JewishGen (worldwide) click on the region, select the country, then click on a specific synagogue (information and page layout of different towns varies).
Totally Jewish Travel here a search for a synagogue is done by location.  It provides basic information of the specific synagogues, and a map with their location.
- Synagogues360 this database by Bet Hatfutsot The museum of the Jewish People provides Visual & Historical Records of Synagogues, and articles about synagogues.
List of oldest synagogues Wikipedia pages that provide links to the entries of specific synagogues worldwide.