I am seeking sources related to the origin of the physical structure of a shul. Specifically:
- Placement of the ark in the front of the shul.
- Torah reader's bimah - I've seen 3 arrangements: Most Ashkenazi shuls have the bimah in the middle Sefardi shuls (many) have it in the back Conservative / Reform have it on the bimah where ark is and reader is facing the cong.
What is the source / history behind these placements? I assume some are halacha, some minhag.