The Menarsha Synagogue (Arabic: كنيس المنشارة;[1] Hebrew: בית כנסת אלמנשה),[2] also known as the Great Synagogue of Damascus,[3] is a former synagogue in Damascus, Syria completed in the 19th century. In 1949, it was the target of a terrorist attack.[4] The building stands today, but has not been used as a synagogue since the anti-Jewish pogroms in the 1940s.

Menarsha Synagogue
كنيس المنشارة
Ecclesiastical or organizational statusInactive
Year consecrated19th century
LocationJewish Quarter of Damascus
Menarsha Synagogue is located in Damascus
Menarsha Synagogue
Shown within Damascus
Geographic coordinates33°30′29″N 36°18′46″E / 33.50803°N 36.312912°E / 33.50803; 36.312912



The synagogue is located in the Jewish Quarter of Damascus on the east side of al-Mansha Street (Arabic: شارع المنشأ), a north-facing cross street of Talat al-Hijara Street (Arabic: شارع تلة الحجارة), opposite to the northern end of the large historical state of Beit Farhi Muallim.[5]



The Menarsha Synagogue was built in the second half of the 19th century.[6] On August 5, 1949, the synagogue, which was filled with people for Shabbat services, was the target of a terrorist attack that killed 12 people, most of them children.[7] The attack on the synagogue a year after the establishment of the State of Israel led to a mass exodus of Jews from the city, mostly to the newly-formed State of Israel. A second wave, mostly to the United States, occurred in 1992 when the government of Hafiz al-Assad allowed Jews to leave the country.[8] There are very few Jews in the city in modern times, which has led to the closure and inactivity of the synagogue.[6] The last active synagogue in Damascus was the Elfrange Synagogue.



The building the synagogue is contained in is a three-Nave hall building on a rectangular ground plan. Its arches rest on white columns with a round cross-section. There is a memorial plaque in the synagogue for the 12 victims of the 1949 terrorist attack.[9]


  1. ^ "صوت العاصمة |يهود دمشق: ممتلكات منهوبة وحقوق مسلوبة، وشعائر على شفير الانهيار". صوت العاصمة (in Arabic). Retrieved 2024-01-04.
  2. ^ "كنيس المنشا | مواقع سياحية في دمشق القديمة". (in Arabic). Retrieved 2024-01-04.
  3. ^ "Great Synagogue at Damascus, Syria". Retrieved 2024-01-04.
  4. ^ "Syrian Jews". Retrieved 2024-01-04.
  5. ^ "The Farhi House in 19th Century Damascus". Retrieved 2024-01-04.
  6. ^ a b "Al-Menarsha Synagogue | Tourist Attractions in Damascus Old City". Retrieved 2024-01-04.
  7. ^ "Syria (1946-present)". Retrieved 2024-01-04.
  8. ^ England, Andrew (2010-05-19). "Damascus gives old Jewish quarter new life". Financial Times. Retrieved 2024-01-04.
  9. ^ Kataf, Rania (November 2020). "Hidden Stories of Damascene Jews" (PDF). Retrieved 2024-01-04.