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Holy Ark  (Hebrew: Aron Kodesh)

Alcove in the synagogue where the Torah scrolls are kept. It is built in the wall facing Jerusalem and is the focal point of the synagogue. The congregation usually stands when the Ark doors are opened, and an eternal light (ner tamid) is kept burning before it. Among the Sephardim, the Aron Kodesh is called the Heikhal.


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Reprinted with permission from A Concise Encyclopedia of Judaism,
by Dan Cohn-Sherbok
.© Oneworld Publications.