[bee-muh, bim-uh, bee-mah]
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. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
bema, bimah or bima (ˈbiːmə)
1.  the speaker's platform in the assembly in ancient Athens
2.  Eastern Orthodox Church a raised area surrounding the altar in a church; the sanctuary
3.  Judaism another word for almemar
[C17: via Late Latin, from Greek bēma, from bainein to go]
bimah, bimah or bima
[C17: via Late Latin, from Greek bēma, from bainein to go]
bima, bimah or bima
[C17: via Late Latin, from Greek bēma, from bainein to go]

bimah or bima (ˈbiːmə)
variant spellings of bema
bima or bima

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Encyclopedia Britannica


(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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