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[bee-muh, bim-uh, bee-mah] /ˈbi mə, ˈbɪm ə, biˈmɑ/
a platform in a synagogue holding the reading table used when chanting or reading portions of the Torah and the Prophets.
Also, bema, bima.
Also called almemar.
(< Yiddish bime) < Hebrew bīmāh < Greek bêma bema Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for bima


the speaker's platform in the assembly in ancient Athens
(Eastern Orthodox Church) a raised area surrounding the altar in a church; the sanctuary
(Judaism) another word for almemar
Word Origin
C17: via Late Latin, from Greek bēma, from bainein to go


variant spellings of bema
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Encyclopedia Article for bima

(from Arabic al-minbar, "platform"), in Jewish synagogues, a raised platform with a reading desk from which, in the Ashkenazi (German) ritual, the Torah and Haftarah (a reading from the prophets) are read on the Sabbath and festivals. In the Sephardic (Spanish) rite, the entire service is conducted from a platform called a teba ("box"). At an earlier date, when the bimah was positioned in the centre of the synagogue (as it still is in Sephardic and many Orthodox Ashkenazi synagogues), the attention of the congregation was divided between it and the Ark of the Law. Although Maimonides and others insisted on this location in the Middle Ages, many modern synagogues now place the bimah in front of the Ark. This arrangement conserves space, facilitates listening, and is, some feel, architecturally more pleasing

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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