Belz Great Synagogue Jerusalem
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Belz Great Synagogue Jerusalem

Belz Great Synagogue

The Belz Great Synagogue, Belz Beis ha-Medrash ha-Gadol, is the largest synagogue in Jerusalem which was built by the Belz (hasidic dynasty) Hasidic community with philanthropic help from their supporters and admirers around the world.
In the 1980s, Rabbi Yissachar Dov Rokeach (II) Dov_Rokeach of Belz spearheaded plans for the huge synagogue to be erected in the Kiryat Belz section of Jerusalem. The building, which would have four entrances accessible to each of the four streets of the hilly neighborhood, would be an enlarged replica of the structure that the first Rebbe of Belz, the Sar Shalom, had built in the town of Belz. It would include a grandiose main sanctuary, smaller study halls, wedding and bar mitzvah halls, libraries, and other communal facilities.
Funds for this ambitious multi-million dollar project were raised among Belzer Hasidim and were supplemented by various fund-raising projects throughout the 1980s and 1990s.
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Like the original synagogue of Belz which took 15 years to complete, the new Belz synagogue that now dominates the northern Jerusalem skyline also took 15 years to construct and was dedicated in 2000. Its main sanctuary seats 6,000 worshippers. The ornate wooden ark, an item for the Guinness Book of Records, is 12 meters high and weighs 18 tons. It has the capacity to hold 70 Torah scrolls. Nine chandeliers, each standing at 18 feet (5.5 m) high and 11 feet (3.4 m) wide, each contain over 200,000 pieces of Czech crystal. In stark contrast to the majestic synagogue, the simple wooden chair and lectern used by Rabbi Aharon of Belz when he came to Israel in 1944 stands in a glass case next to the ark.

Belz Beis HaMedrash HaGadol Synagogue

Belz Great Synagogue Building Layout

The main sanctuary is used only on the Sabbath and holidays, while weekday services take place in the underlying smaller rooms of the complex. Under the main sanctuary are multiple floors. The floor directly under the main sanctuary hosts a large number of small synagogue rooms known as shtieblach where services for shacharis, mincha and maariv are held up to every 10 minutes. In an adjacent wing is also a large hall used for tishen. Below the shtieblach are multiple floors with dormitory-style sleeping quarters for Belzer Chassidim from outside of Israel, who come to visit the Rebbe for Jewish holidays such as Rosh HaShana, Yom Kippur or Sukkos. There are also large rooms for other functions, such as seudas shlishis on Shabbos afternoons, weddings and bar mitzvah celebrations.
Basic information

Location: Jerusalem - Israel

Religious affiliation: Orthodox Judaism

Rite: Sephard

Functional status Active

Leadership Rabbi Yissachar Dov Rokeach

Architectural description Direction of facade East Year completed 2000

Specifications Capacity 6,000
Tgas: Belz Hasidism,Orthodox synagogues,Synagogues in Jerusalem