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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

PARK SYNAGOGUE - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

PARK SYNAGOGUE was built by the ANSHE EMETH (PARK SYNAGOGUE) congregation (the Cleveland Jewish Ctr.) in 1947-50 and is generally regarded as a major work of 20th-century architecture. It was the largest and most ambitious of 4 synagogues and community centers designed by the world-famous architect Eric Mendelsohn (1887-1953) between 1945-53. Its design contributed to the emergence of a distinct style of synagogue architecture in the 1950s, which departed from the traditional Near Eastern eclecticism. The spiritual intent of Mendelsohn's plan is clearly explained in published statements by the architect, who worked closely with Rabbi Armond E. Cohen in its development. The main architectural form of the temple is a vast hemispheric dome symbolizing the unity of the heavens and the earth. At 100' in diameter, it was the third-largest in the U.S. in 1950; it was constructed of reinforced concrete sprayed in place over wooden forms. The roof is covered with copper. The drum of the dome is entirely glazed, as it was intended that views of nature would bring the congregation closer to the spirit of God. The main sanctuary is connected to a fan-shaped assembly hall with folding doors, so that the size can be almost doubled for attendance on High Holy Days. A classroom wing is placed around a courtyard behind the assembly hall, and a bridgelike structure leads across a ravine to an auditorium wing, which was completed in 1969 under the direction of the firm of Bialosky & Manders. In 1986 Park Synagogue acquired the building of the former Brith Emeth Congregation. Located in PEPPER PIKE, this building is known as Park Synagogue East. The original building in Cleveland Hts. is now referred to as Park Main.

Last Modified: 20 Jun 1997 10:28:14 AM

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