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    Temples & synagogues – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. Can you explain why some synagogues call themselves “temples”?

    A. The word “temple” is meant metaphorically.

    There is a world of difference between modern buildings that call themselves temples and the historic Temple in Jerusalem. The real Temple was based on principles of assembly, worship and hierarchy which were nothing like the modern “temple”.

    The choice of the name “temple” arose out of classical 19th-century Reform which rejected the belief that Judaism required a return to Zion and the restoration of Temple worship in the historic sense. It argued that wherever Jews lived, that was their homeland, and wherever they worshipped, that was their “temple”.

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