Local elders governed the synagogue as a kind of democracy. While all adult members of the community could belong to the synagogue, only adult males age 13 or older could be elders.

A local caretaker called the hazzan (sometimes called “ruler” in the English Bible) was responsible for maintaining the building and organizing prayer services (Mark 5:22, 35-36, 38; Luke 8:41-49; 13:14). The hazzan sometimes taught the synagogue school, especially in smaller villages. He would announce the coming Sabbath with blasts on the shofar (ram’s horn), and he also cared for the Torah scrolls and other sacred writings, bringing them out at the appropriate times (Luke 4:17-20).

Priests and Levites were welcome to participate in synagogue life, including worship, but they had no special leadership role. However, only priests could offer the blessing of Aaron from the Torah (Num. 6:24-27) at the end of a synagogue service.


See all posts in Glossary

Upcoming Tours

We would love to walk with you in the Holy Land. Here are upcoming opportunities:

Mar 07 — Mar 20, 2021
Walking with the Patriarchs
Led by George DeJong
Jun 20 — Jul 04, 2021
Out of Egypt, Into a Good Land
Led by George DeJong
Jul 03 — Jul 17, 2021
Out of Egypt, Into a Good Land
Led by George DeJong
Sep 18 — Oct 02, 2021
Israel & Turkey in Depth
Led by George DeJong
Fall 2021
Ancient Paths to Modern Leadership
Led by George DeJong
Nov 12 — Nov 26, 2021
Egypt Nile River Cruise & Jordan Walking Tour
Led by George DeJong
Nov 25 — Dec 04, 2021
Heart Of God
Led by George DeJong