Great Synagogue, Jerusalem

The Great Synagogue of Jerusalem, (Hebrew: בֵּית הַכְּנֶסֶת הַגָּדוֹל ביְרוּשָׁלַיִם‎‎), is located at 58 King George Street, Jerusalem, Israel. Rabbi Zalman Druck was the spiritual leader from the synagogue's establishment until he died on 11 December 2009. The president of the synagogue is Rabbi Dr. David M. Fuld.

As early as 1923 the Chief Rabbis of Israel, Abraham Kook and Jacob Meir, mooted plans for a large central synagogue in Jerusalem. It was over 30 years later in 1958 when Heichal Shlomo, seat of the Israeli Rabbinate, was founded, that a small synagogue was established within the building. As time passed and the need for more space grew, services were moved and held in the foyer of Heichal Shlomo. Soon afterwards, when the premises could not hold the number of worshippers attending, it was decided that a new, much larger synagogue be built.

The plot of land next to Heichal Shlomo was purchased with the efforts of Dr Moshe Avrohom Yaffe, chairman of the Board of Management of Heichal Shlomo. The main sponsor for construction of the new synagogue was Sir Isaac Wolfson, a Jewish philanthropist form Britain. The Wolfson family consecrated the synagogue in the memory of the six million Jews who perished in the holocaust and to the fallen soldiers of Israel Defense Forces.

The style of the building was modeled on the Jewish Temple which once stood in Jerusalem. The inauguration took place on Tu B'Av 1982. Naftali Hershtik was appointed the chief cantor of the synagogue, a position he held up to 31 December 2008 succeeded by Haim Adler.

The sanctuary seats 850 men and 550 women.

A comprehensive private collection of mezuzah cases is on show inside the lobby.

On 8 August 2009, on the Shabbat of the weekly Torah portion of Eikev, a commemoration of the synagogue's 27th anniversary was held with the visiting renowned hazzan Yitzchak Meir Helfgot. Attendance, estimated at over 3000, outnumbered the seating capacity, constrained attendants to close the doors forty-five minutes prior to the beginning of services and deny entrance to hundreds still outside which led to minor violence by frustrated people. The idea to offer tickets ahead of time was not accepted by the synagogue rabbi. The evening services lasted about two hours and the morning services about five hours.

Image gallery
  • Exterior
  • Main Entrance
  • Interior

Building Activity

  • OpenBuildings
    OpenBuildings updated a digital reference
    about 6 years ago via Annotator
  • OpenBuildings
    OpenBuildings updated a digital reference and added a digital reference
    about 6 years ago via