Rabbi Shmuel Goldstein, one of several people seriously wounded in last week's horrific attack on a synagogue in Jerusalem, has described his "miraculous" survival to journalists for the first time.

Speaking with some difficulty from a wheelchair at the Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital in Jerusalem where he is being treated for his wounds, Rabbi Goldstein recounted the terrifying moment two terrorists burst in during morning prayers at Har Nof's Kehillat Bnei Torah synagogue.

He said the attack happened during the Amida - the central prayer of the service - and recalled how he suddenly heard gunshot and saw people fall to the floor "ducking for cover."

Rabbi Goldstein described how one of the two terrorists struck him three times with a meat-cleaver, twice in the head and once in the back, leaving him for dead on the ground.

Astoundingly, however, he was still alive, and when the other terrorist's pistol jammed he managed to get to his feet and in an act of incredible heroism pulled the murderer to the ground. It was an attempt to save his fellow worshipers which could have cost him his life - but Rabbi Goldstein described how the shocked terrorist simply barked at him to leave, a twist he says is nothing short of a miracle.

After running from the building a passerby "took the shirt off his own back, literally" and bandaged his wounds, before paramedics evacuated him to hospital unconscious. 

Rabbi Goldstein expressed his gratitude to God for saving him from what should have been certain death.

"Now I appreciate that even more... that every moment that Hashem gives me life is a constant present," he said, urging Jews everywhere to "strengthen our spirituality" in response to the attack. Keeping the Sabbath he said, would be a particularly poignant response.

"Because it happened in a holy place, we have to keep the holiness of the Shabbat... and that that way Hashem should keep watch over us."

Speaking in Hebrew, he elaborated:

"If we want God to guard us, it is incumbent upon us as the Nation of Israel to guard the Shabbat."

In another miracle, his 12-year-old son, Mordechai, managed to escape unharmed in the midst of the chaos.

"In the ambulance I shouted 'Where is my son?', and then they told me there was a 12-year-old boy who managed to escape. I met my son again a few days ago and I hope he will be OK."