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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Too cool for shul

If your synagogue experience is a dark and dreary mid-century modern warren of halls and rooms deep in the heart of suburbia, prepare to have your kippah blown. Behold the Soho Synagogue, founded just five years ago. Its new basement digs look more look a sparsely chic nightclub than a house of worship. Rabbi Dovi Scheiner believes in the communicative power of creative interiors - "Every aspect of our presentation, including our design, is carefully articulated to communicate the profound relevance of Judaism in our modern world." His unofficial motto is “We pray and we play.”

The street-level donor wall. We Hebrews love a commemoration.

Stairs lead down into the sanctuary designed by Studio Dror.

A view of the ark from the upper landing.

The furniture can be moved easily for functions. The tables unfold to be 
hung on the wall as artwork.

A sketch on the wall marks where a large custom menorah will soon sit.

Congregant and fashion designer Yigal Azrouel assisted in the ark's design.

Photos: Danny Kim.

Space of the Week: Not Your Father's Shul [New York magazine]
Studio Dror [official site]


David said...

Its beautiful, all religions could use a shot of this.

And since you mention it, why is it that so many synagogues are mid-century buildings? Many of Kansas City's are.

Cathy Wall said...

So the tables as art concept and the beauty of it all.


Raina Cox said...

David - The middle of the 20th century is when many congregations began outgrow their city center locations. The congregants were moving to newly-built suburbs and the shuls followed.

RJ Diaz said...

great info. great execution. makes me wish I was in the tribe. this happens to be near my office and will need to check it out in person. absolutely love the KD table idea.

My Interior Life said...

Very cool. The Presbyterians need to take a page out of this book!

Alcira Molina-Ali said...

Now this is what I call new religion.
I truly think, though faith lies within, that more inviting, interactive spaces like this one would draw the most vibrant, dynamicand proactive members of a religious community.
Cheers, Alcira

Daydreamer said...

this is amazing. tables switched up as artwork when needed...brilliant. this whole space and concept is brilliant.

The Down East Dilettante said...

Whoa. To a boy raised in the dry air of the Congregational Church, white steeple and all, this is downright sybaritic...

Verrrry cool. How soon can I be mitzvahed?

court. said...

gorgeous. i'm converting.

Erin said...

Hot... dang? Feels a bit odd to curse here.

Jimmy The Undercover Designer said...

All religions should try to keep up with the times. They sometimes forget that they do have to present themselves properly and within context. I like this "modern" Rabbi

First House on the Right said...

That is a seriously amazing synagogue! Nicolex

Rebecca said...

To David (in case he's checking back): I hope you're thinking about the awesome old Temple B’ Nai Jehudah, a building I never fully appreciated until it was torn down. (Also the site of my religious upbringing.) Boo hoo.

Non-KCers can see a pic here.

JKO said...

Gorgeous! Nice to see the Torah cover I made for this shul in its home. The Torah cover commemorates 9/11 (in a subtle way) and represents a "shin," the letter symbolizing G-d. I enjoyed working in a contemporary style for this project. Most of my work is more colorful. This fits the space beautifully.

See more of my work here:

Wishing Rabbi Scheiner and his congregation continued successes!