“And David danced before the LORD with all his might…”
—2 Samuel 6:14-22
Synagogues often not only serve as a place of Jewish worship but are a central point of life—places of assembly, prayer, and study. Reform congregations use the word “temple,” considering their meeting places to be equivalent to, or a replacement for, The Temple in Jerusalem.
Very few Talmudic instructions exist on their architecture other than they are to have windows and be taller than other surrounding buildings. As Jewish communities were often not allowed to build tall buildings, shape and design varies greatly, mostly following the prevailing architectural style of their time and place. They range from simple, unadorned prayer rooms to elaborately decorated buildings. However, throughout history frescos, murals, floor mosaics, and a rich figurative art tradition have played a central role in Jewish religious art. Elements in design and construction are created for the purpose of creating an emotional reaction in the spectator. This kind of architectural iconography is still prevalent even in modern synagogues and temples today.
Our diverse team of liturgical artists, craftspeople, and historic conservators are working with jewish communities across the country on new plans and designs, historic renovations, and the preservation of their houses of worship.