The Elfrange Synagogue (Arabic: كنيس الفرنج; Hebrew: בית כנסת אלפרנג' lit.'Frankish synagogue') is a synagogue in Damascus, Syria. It is currently the last synagogue in Syria used for worship by Jews. The name is also transcribed as al-Faranj or al-Firenj.

Elfrange Synagogue
كنيس الفرنج
MunicipalityOld City
Elfrange Synagogue is located in Damascus
Elfrange Synagogue
Shown within Damascus
Elfrange Synagogue is located in Syria
Elfrange Synagogue
Elfrange Synagogue (Syria)
Geographic coordinates33°30′27″N 36°18′44″E / 33.507587°N 36.312263°E / 33.507587; 36.312263
Date established19th century



The synagogue is located in the Jewish Quarter of Damascus between the historical estates of Beit Liniado (بيت لنيادو) and Beit Farhi Muallim (بيت فارحي-المعلّم). It is on the east side of a small cul-de-sac known as al-Fannānīn Street.[1][2]



The Faranj Synagogue is considered the oldest of the still-extant synagogues in the Old City of Damascus. According to oral tradition of Damascene Jews, it was founded by Sephardic refugees at the end of the 15th century following the Reconquista, with the synagogue operating in Judaeo-Spanish. The church was named "Franj" (Arabic: فرنج) after the Franks, European foreigners.[2] However, the modern structure of the synagogue was built in the second half of the 19th century.[3] Following 1949 pogroms in Syria, many Jews fled and left the country, dwindling the local population able to attend the synagogue. A second wave of immigration occurred following an edict by Hafiz al-Assad allowing Jews to leave the country.[4] In 2020, journalist Rania Kataf claimed that 12 Jews still resided in the city, all elderly, who renovated the synagogue in 2019.[5]



The Elfrange is a three-Nave temple on a rectangular base. Its round arches rest on cylindrical, stone pillars. The gates, floor, and bema were designed by Maurice Nseiri, a Jewish artisan who later immigrated to the United States.[6] Unlike the interior, the synagogue's exterior is mostly lacking of religious notation.[7]


  1. ^ "Al-Franj Synagogue at Damascus, Syria". Retrieved 2024-01-09.
  2. ^ a b Kataf, Rania (November 2020). "Hidden Stories of Damascene Jews: A collection of the cultural memory of the last generation of Jews in Damascus" (PDF). Minor Kontor (in German). p. 21. Retrieved 2024-01-09.
  3. ^ "Al-Faranj Synagogue". Retrieved 2024-01-09.
  4. ^ England, Andrew (2010-05-19). "Damascus gives old Jewish quarter new life". Financial Times. Retrieved 2024-01-04.
  5. ^ Lombard, Jérôme (2020-12-12). "Eine fast verschwundene Gemeinde". Jüdische Allgemeine (in German). Retrieved 2024-01-09.
  6. ^ Spielman, Sara Trappler (2016-03-28). "Syrian Jewish Artist Maurice Nseiri". Hadassah Magazine. Retrieved 2024-01-09.
  7. ^ Alcoverro, Tomás (2017-05-27). "La última sinagoga de Damasco, por Tomás Alcoverro". La Vanguardia (in Spanish). Retrieved 2024-01-09.