Ades Synagogue

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Ades Synagogue
Ades Synagogue, Jerusalem.jpg
AffiliationOrthodox Judaism
RiteSephardic (Aleppian)
LocationIsrael Corner of Beersheba and Shilo Street, (off Bezalel St.), Nachlaot, Jerusalem, Israel
StyleTraditional Middle Eastern
MaterialsJerusalem stone

The Ades Synagogue, (Hebrew: בית הכנסת עדס), also known as the Great Synagogue Ades of the Glorious Aleppo Community, located in Jerusalem's Nachlaot neighborhood, was established by Syrian immigrants in 1901. It is considered to be the center of Syrian Hazzanut in Israel.


At turn of the 20th century, many of Syria's Jewish community had emigrated to escape the economic downturn which arrived with the decline of the Ottoman Empire. While many settled in England, the United States or Latin America, some families moved to the Holy Land. Most community members were laborers, shopkeepers or merchants.

After some time, the synagogue was officially established in 1901 by a community of Jews from Aleppo, Syria. It is named after two cousins who financed the building: Ovadiah Josiah Ades and Yosef Isaac Ades. Yosef Ades was a wealthy man with connections in the Ottoman administration and a member of the City Council of Jerusalem. The new synagogue was designed as a neighborhood institution, and at the time, was considered one of the most beautiful synagogues in Jerusalem. Although solidly constructed, the synagogue suffered damage in World War I and the 1947–1949 Palestine war. Today the synagogue is attended not only by Aleppian Jews, but by many different types of Sephardic Jews (e.g. Kurdish); nevertheless, the liturgy of the congregation remains Aleppian in its purest form.


The traditional Middle Eastern-style interior is elaborate and well-kept, with a high ceiling, chandeliers, wooden benches facing a central dais, a small balcony for the women's section and a Holy Ark covering the entire eastern wall. The large ark, made of walnut and covered with intricate geometric designs inlaid with mother-of-pearl, was extensively repaired in 2001 in honor of the synagogue's centennial.

A mural depicting stylized representations of the Twelve Tribes of Israel, visible along the upper part of the walls, was painted around 1911-12 by Ya'acov Stark, a teacher at newly formed Bezalel Academy of Art and Design. Stark was part of a group of secular artists and intellectuals of the Second Aliya who sought to create a new, vibrant culture in Jerusalem. Over time, the mural was partially overpainted and the paint has discolored.

Center for Syrian hazzanut[edit]

Ades attracts many visitors from Israel and abroad, in part because of its unique liturgical style. Ades has two daily morning services (including Shabbat and holidays), and a combined afternoon and evening service that begins just before sundown.

Renowned as a center for Syrian hazzanut (Middle Eastern-style Jewish liturgical singing), Ades is one of only two synagogues in Jerusalem (and perhaps the world) that maintains the ancient tradition of baqashot, a set cycle of kabbalistic poetry sung in the early hours of Shabbat morning during the winter months.[1] Baqashot sessions typically begin at 3 a.m. and are usually densely packed.

The cantors of Ades Synagogue are considered to be Syrian Jewry's most well-learned and talented. In many cases, cantors specifically go to this synagogue to learn maqamot and hazzanut. Throughout the last century, many famous cantors have emerged from Ades.

The prayer services at the Ades synagogue differ only slightly from the services conducted in other Syrian synagogues throughout the world (the Weekly Maqam choices may differ from week to week).

In recent years, Ades has received extensive attention due to a combination of its 100th anniversary, marked in 2001, its unique status and the trend toward an increased interest in pizmonim or religious song. The synagogue is a regular stop for walking tours in Nachlaot as well as the location where many Syrian Jews from around the world go to when visiting Israel for such occasions like a Bar Mitzvah, wedding, or just to attend the Baqashot session. The community preserves the links to its rich history and tradition from generation to generation.

The synagogue has produced DVDs and CDs of the baqashot and other religious music.


  1. ^ Fiske, Gabriel (4 August 2006). "Glorious Aleppo". The Jerusalem Post. Archived from the original on 11 June 2014. Retrieved 26 January 2014. (subscription)

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 31°46′54.58″N 35°12′41.03″E / 31.7818278°N 35.2113972°E / 31.7818278; 35.2113972