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Monday, April 30, 2012

Washington, DC Historic Synagogues
I just posted some information and my photographs of three historic synagogues in Washington, DC - The former Adas Israel Congregation now the Sixth and I Historic Synagogue; the former Washington Hebrew Congregation now the Greater New Hope Baptist Church; and the Lillian & Albert Small Jewish Museum which was the original Adas Israel from 1876. You can see it on my Facebook Page:

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Just a quick post with photographs of some of my favorite US synagogues.  First is a small synagogue in Sandusky, Ohio. Oheb Shalom Temple is such a classic 1950's style synagogue and eventhough it is a small building it really has some design punch. the congregation was established in 1905 and the current building dates to 1956. Here is a link to their website:

Photograph By Julian H. Preisler 2011

Congregation Agudas Achim in Columbus (Bexley), Ohio was established in 1881 and is the oldest "traditional" Jewish congregation in the city. Their present East Broad Street synagogue dedicated in 1951 is a well known Bexley landmark and contains a beautiful Holocaust Memorial on the grounds. The building has been expanded and renovated over the years the met the needs of a growing congregation. Find out more on their website:
Photograph By Julian H. Preisler 2011

I found out about this small gem of a synagogue a few years ago and am glad to now have some photographs of it courtesy of Charles "Chip" Rayman. This was his family's congregation. Again, the structure is a Mid-Century Modern gem in Tupelo, Mississippi. The congregation traces its beginnings to 1936 with the formation of the Northeast Mississippi Sisterhood. Jews had settled in Lee County as early as the 1850's though there were not enough in the Community to formalize a Jewish congregation until 1939. This is a rare instance where a Jewish Sisterhood preceded the formation of an actual congregation. The present Mi-Century Modern building was dedicated in 1957. In 2007 a new Bima and Ark were dedicated  in commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the synagogue. A new library was dedicated in 2009. Despite its small size, this congregation carries on a long tradtion of activity and providing a Jewish presence in the town known for Elvis Presley.
Photographs Courtesy of Chip Rayman 2011

Just so my readers/viewers will not think that I only like MCM style buildings, though they are my favorites, here is a beautiful example of the Moorish Revival style used on many American synagogues in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Congregation B'nai B'rith was established in Savannah, Georgia in 1861 and this building was dedicated in 1909. It was in use until 1962 when the congregation dedicated a new modern synagogue. The former synagogue was used as a church until 2003 when it was acquird by the Savannah College of Art & Design for use as a Student Center. The building has since been beautifully restored. The current synagogue of the congregation is a rather brutally plain MCM style building, but the Wall behind the Bima is an explosion of style, color and design. There is an image on their website:
Wikipedia Image By Hermann Luyken Used With Permission

One more.....Shearith Israel Congregation is the oldest  and most historic Jewish Congregation in the USA having been established in 1654 by Jews of Sephardic origin who settled in what was the Dutch colony of Neuw Amsterdam.  The congregation, also known as the "Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue" has had six buildings over the last three hundred plus years. Their current synagogue is a stately Neoclassical edifice on Central Park West that was dedicated in 1896. For more information please visit their website:
Photograph By Julian H. Preisler 2010

Friday, April 13, 2012

I've been making an effort to be more active on my "professional" Facebook page and have posted some interesting new synagogue photographs. There are several from Western Pennsylvania that show simple and clean design on Mid-Century Modern synagogues in small towns outside of Pittsburgh. Please take a look and do click "like" if you feel so inclined. As you can tell by many of my posts, I have a great interest in small town synagogues and especially those that were built in the 1950's and 1960's.