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Friday, April 30, 2010

Welcome Readers

Welcome to my blog. My blog is intended to be an informal look at the topic of American synagogue architecture and its associated congregational histories. The range of postings will cover both current and former synagogues as well as those that, unfortunately, have been demolished over the years. All sizes, locations, styles and time-periods will be touched upon. Though not formally trained in architecture I have studied synagogue architecture and history for many years and consider myself well-versed on the topic. I look forward to sharing images and history and welcome photos, information and suggestions/comments from readers.

The synagogue pictured in the blog heading is that of Shaarey Torah Synagogue in Canton, Ohio. It is a classic example of the 'Mid-Century Modern' style of architecture. The Conservative congregation was established in 1890 and their current synagogue was built in 1958. Their domed sanctuary was a typical design element of the period and gives the building a somewhat "Jetson Space-Age" feel. The synagogue of Congregation Ohav Zedek in nearby Youngstown, Ohio is of a similar design and was most likely designed by the same architecture firm. Shaarey Torah is one of three synagogues (Orthodox, Reform and Conservative) in Canton and is an active congregation. The previous building still stands and I will post photos of it as well as Temple Israel in Canton in a later posting. Canton's Jewish Community has declined in size over the years but still includes a Jewish Community Center, Jewish newspaper and several local Jewish organizations. There currently are plans to consolidate the JCC, Temple Israel and Shaarey Torah at a remodeled and greatly expanded Shaarey Torah location. The JCC and Temple Israel would be sold and each entity would have space at the new remodeled location creating a small Jewish Community Campus.

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