Synagogue Models (2)

This is the 2nd stamp in a series of four stamps featuring synagogue models from the display at Tel Aviv's Nahum Goldmann Museum of the Jewish Diaspora. It displays the model of the Main Synagogue in Aleppo, Syria.

Under Moslem rule, Jewish houses of worship were also subject to severe limitations. The building of new ones was often forbidden while the height had to be below that of the lowest mosque in the town. As a rule, therefore, the synagogues in these countries were small buildings, often little more than rooms, but there were exceptions and in places monumental edifices were put up. One of the best-known was the Main Synagogue in Aleppo, Syria. It was built in the ninth century (although traditionally ascribed to the fourth-fifth century) and architecturally influenced by the great mosques in Cairo. The reader's raised roofed platform stood in the central internal courtyard. The congregation sat around in porticoes while the main ark (there were seven altogether) was placed in a niche in the wall.

The most famous ancient Hebrew Bible manuscript, the Ben Asher codex, was kept in this synagogue and when the building was burnt down in a pogrom in 1947, a member of the congregation rescued the precious document from the flames and it was later smuggled out of Syria and into Israel.

The stamp was issued in 1987. Designer: D. Ben-Dov.