and the Synagogue
Both the Church and the Synagogue have different tasks. Christians have different beliefs on what the Church's task consists of. Some think that it's mission is to convert people to the Christian life and to make them members of the Church. Others think that the Church is supposed to place Christian communities in places where none existed beforehand. However, some people believe that it is not the duty of the Church to convert people to Christianity and that God is already working where people are creating peace and justice.
The synagogue's purpose is one which is much different from what Christians believe is the Church's role. At the beginning, the synagogue was used as a means of assembling the people and to educate them in the Jewish traditions. When the Temple still existed, the synagogue acted as a meeting place - a place where Jews could meet to pray, study and discuss problems which had arisen. The synagogue, unlike a Church, is not holy.
Inside a church there are many religious objects. The altar is the table in which the ceremony for Holy Communion is delivered by the priest. The lectern is the desk on which the Scriptures are read and the sermons are preached. The throne, or 'cathedra', is the seat in which the priest is seated during the sermon. The font is a basin of holy water, which is used in baptisms. There is sometimes a confession booth, in which the people are able to confess their sins to a priest and be forgiven.
A synagogue, unlike the church, is just the building itself. It contains many rooms and usually a large hall. Like the church, there are many religious objects contained in the building. The Holy Ark (Aron Hakodesh), which contains the Torah scroll, is present in all synagogues, as is the Ner Tamid, the Everlasting Light which hangs above the Ark. This light symbolizes God's eternal presence in the synagogue. The Ark is usually built into the eastern wall. In each synagogue is also a raised area known as the Bimah or Almemar, where the people pray. and a pulpit, where the rabbi delivers the sermon. During sermon, the women and men are separated - men sit at the bottom of the building, and women sit in a balcony.
More information available on Synagogues.