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There is no set blueprint for synagogues and the architectural shapes and interior designs of synagogues vary greatly.In fact, the influence from other local religious buildings can often be seen in synagogue arches, domes and towers.Thus there were Neoclassical, Neo-Byzantine, Romanesque Revival, Moorish Revival, Gothic Revival, and Greek Revival.There are Egyptian Revival synagogues and even one Mayan Revival synagogue.Historically, synagogues were built in the prevailing architectural style of their time and place.Thus, the synagogue in Kaifeng, China looked very like Chinese temples of that region and era, with its outer wall and open garden in which several buildings were arranged.

the Sephardic, Polish or Persian Jews of a town), style of religious observance (i.e., a Reform or an Orthodox synagogue), or by the followers of a particular rabbi.

The all-day Yom Kippur service, in fact, was an event in which the congregation both observed the movements of the kohen gadol ("the high priest") as he offered the day's sacrifices and prayed for his success.

During the Babylonian captivity (586–537 BCE) the Men of the Great Assembly formalized and standardized the language of the Jewish prayers.

In terms of its specific ritual and liturgical functions, the synagogue does not replace the long-since destroyed Temple in Jerusalem. Persian Jews and some Karaite Jews also use the non-Hebrew term kenesa, which is derived from Aramaic, and some Mizrahi Jews use kenis.

Some Reform, Reconstructionist, and Conservative Jews use the word temple.