Each group of new arrivals founded its own community (aljama in Spanish), whose rites ("minhagim") differed from those of other communities. The synagogues cemented each group, and their names most often referred to the groups' origins. For example, Katallan Yashan (Old Catalan) was founded in 1492 and Katallan Hadash (New Catalonia) at the end of the 16th century.
|Name of synagogue||Date of construction||Name of synagogue||Date of construction||Name of synagogue||Date of construction|
|Ets ha Chaim||1st century||Apulia||1502||Yahia||1560|
|Ashkenaz or Varnak||1376||Lisbon Yashan||1510||Sicilia Hadash||1562|
|Mayorka||1391||Talmud Torah Hagadol||1520||Beit Aron||1575|
|Italia Yashan||1423||Evora||1535||Mayorka Sheni||16th century|
|Guerush Sfarad||1492||Estrug||1535||Katallan Chadash||16th century|
|Kastilla||1492–3||Lisbon Chadash||1536||Italia Sheni||1606|
|Katallan Yashan||1492||Ishmael||1537||Har Gavoa||1663|
|Kalabria Yashan||1497||Tcina||1545||Mograbis||17th century|
|Sicilia Yashan||1497||Nevei Tsedek||1550|
A government institution called Talmud Torah Hagadol was introduced in 1520 to head all the congregations and make decisions (haskamot) that applied to all. It was administered by seven members with annual terms. This institution provided an educational program for young boys, and was a preparatory school for entry to yeshivot. It hosted hundreds of students. In addition to Jewish studies, it taught humanities, Latin and Arabic, as well as medicine, the natural sciences and astronomy. The yeshivot of Salonika were frequented by Jews from throughout the Ottoman Empire and even farther abroad; there were students from Italy and Eastern Europe. After completing their studies, some students were appointed rabbis in the Jewish communities of the Empire and Europe, including cities such as Amsterdam and Venice. The success of its educational institutions was such that there was no illiteracy among the Jews of Salonika.
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