Jewish houses of prayer, so-called synagogues, have existed for at least 2000 years. Even if their architectural styles can vary greatly, they all possess some shared features:

Every synagogue contains a Torah Ark, a lectern and an Eternal Light.

The Torah Ark, Aron(ha)Kodesh in Hebrew, is always placed on the eastern wall in German synagogues – symbolically facing Jerusalem, where the most important Jewish sanctuary used to be: The Temple of Jerusalem, in which the Ark of the Covenant with the Tablets of the Law was kept.

Within the Aron haKodesh, handwritten copies of the 5 books of Moses are kept, the so-called Torah scrolls. Every Saturday, a section of the Torah is recited during services, in order to keep the biblical stories and the divine commandments alive.

As the Torah scrolls are rather large, every synagogue contains a reader’s platform, a Bimah, where the parchment scrolls are spread for every reading. Traditionally, the Bimah is placed in the center of the main sanctuary.

Placed in front of every Aron haKodesh, a so-called Eternal Light – called ner tamid in Hebrew – is supposed to evoke the memory of the seven-branched candelabra which once stood in the Temple in Jerusalem and was always lit.