The word “beit” which is a construct form means “house of” (house is “ba•yit”).
K’ne•set means “gathering.” “K’ne•set” is also Israel’s House of Representatives. There is only one House in Israel verses the U.S. House of Representatives that along with the Senate make up the Congress. This name is similar in concept to the Hebrew name: K’ne•set which comes from the verb “k.n.s” – “to gather”, “to congregate”. Likewise, the name Congress is a derivative of the same verb “to congregate”.
Beit “k’ne•set” is the Jewish house of prayer. Since the exile of the Jews to Babylonia after the destruction of the holy Temple in Jerusalem, every synagogue is also called “mik•dash me•at” (“a little bit of a temple”).
The synagogues around the world today are divided into two main categories: 1. By the ethnic group of its congregants. There are mostly two major groups, the Sephardic beit k’ne•set and the Ashkenazi beit k’ne•set. The first includes mostly Jews from Spain, North Africa and Middle Eastern countries. The second, the Ashkenazi beit k’ne•set includes Jews mostly from Eastern Europe and North America. 2. By the three maim streams in today’s Judaism: Orthodox, Conservative and Reform synagogues. Besides being a house of prayer, every beit k’ne•set keeps the tradition of reading a Torah portion every week.