Browsing Tag



Sicily Gets Its First New Synagogue in 500 Years

By On January 11, 2017

An unlikely thing is happening in Sicily. Over five centuries after the expulsion of the Italian island’s Jewish population, the ancient synagogue in its capital city is re-opening its doors. As of… Read More


The Ukrainian Synagogue That Became a Juice Factory

By On November 25, 2016

We recently featured a selection of former shuls across the U.S. now serving as everything from a police supply store to trendy condominiums. While many got a chuckle out of the post,… Read More


The Police Supply Store and 10 Other Synagogue Disguises

By On October 28, 2016

  Every year, we commemorate the ancient Temples that were destroyed, but what about the houses of worship that have been repurposed, reconstructed, reinvented — in other words, disguised as something else?… Read More


Destroyed By Isis, This Ancient Syrian Synagogue Had Jaw-Dropping Murals

By On October 3, 2016

In 1932, the nearly intact ruins of a synagogue were excavated in Dura-Europos, a former garrison and trading center on the Euphrates river in eastern Syria. The shul’s construction was traced back… Read More

Berlin's New SynagogueMosqueChurch

Berlin and Omaha’s Incredible New Synagogue-Mosque-Churches

By On December 21, 2015

A priest, a rabbi, and an imam walk into a bar… But actually, this isn’t a joke, or a bar. It’s an extraordinary new building called the House of One, which will… Read More


Why Jews Used to Spit in Shul

By On November 19, 2015

The list of what you cannot do in a synagogue is prodigious—from clapping and smoking to futzing with the change in your pocket. But what you won’t find on that list is… Read More

The Surprising Jewish History of St. Thomas, Virgin Islands

The Surprising Jewish History of St. Thomas, Virgin Islands

By On August 3, 2015

Jews from Denmark first arrived on the white beaches of what is now St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands—a tiny speck off the coast of Puerto Rico—in the mid-17th century. These were descendants… Read More


The Quirky Film That’s Saving an Italian Synagogue

By On April 30, 2014

A new indie Italian comedy will change the way you look at Jewish cemeteries forever—not to mention that boot-shaped country by the sea. Based on a true family story, Felice Nel Box by first-time director Ghila Valabrega begins… Read More

Eastern State Penitentiary

The One-Room Shul in an Old Philly Prison

By On January 6, 2014

The Alfred W. Fleisher synagogue didn’t always have a rabbi, but in the mid-20th century it did have Morris “The Rabbi” Bolber. Bolber, the fomer leader of a murder ring in Philadelphia, and Fleisher’s congregants, were… Read More


Mushroom Synagogues

By On April 5, 2012

Fake rabbis? For-profit synagogues? Big-box High Holiday services? So-called “mushroom synagogues” became fashionable in the United States in the late 1920s. They were often for-profit enterprises that popped up during the Rosh Hashanah season. Managed by private entrepreneurs,… Read More


The Only Synagogue in New York

By On June 29, 2011

You’ve likely heard the old Jewish joke: A man is marooned on a desert island for years. He’s discovered, and he shows his rescuers around–his house, his workshop, and two synagogues. “But why do… Read More


The Wright Synagogue

By On April 25, 2011

American architect Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) designed more than 500 completed projects: Homes, schools, skyscrapers, churches, offices, museums. And one synagogue. When Beth Shalom Congregation moved from downtown Philadelphia to the suburbs, the synagogue board… Read More