KAM Isaiah Israel
|KAM Isaiah Israel|
KAM Isaiah Israel and a Barack Obama security detail in September 2008
|Location||1100 E Hyde Park Blvd,
|Leadership||President Robert Nevel
Rabbi Frederick Reeves
Cantor Miriam Eskenasy
|Architect(s)||Alfred S. Alschuler,
John Alschuler, Ron Dirsmith
|Direction of façade||West|
|Capacity||1,300 in the sanctuary,
400 in the chapel
|Dome(s)||3 (1 large and 2 small)|
|Spire(s)||1 (reminiscent of a minaret)|
|Designated:||April 16, 1966|
KAM Isaiah Israel is the oldest Jewish congregation in Chicago, with its oldest core founded in 1847 as Kehilath Anshe Ma'arav ("Congregation of the Men of the West", probably referring to the Middle-west, abbreviated as KAM).
In 1922, KAM moved from its Louis Sullivan and Dankmar Adler designed temple in Bronzeville to a private residence in Hyde Park. The former synagogue became the Pilgrim Baptist Church, the birthplace of Gospel music. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973, designated a Chicago Landmark in 1981, and partially destroyed by fire in 2006. In 1971, KAM merged with another Reform congregation, Isaiah Israel (builders of the present synagogue), to become KAM Isaiah Israel.
The synagogue is at 1100 East Hyde Park Boulevard in the Kenwood neighborhood. Kenwood is an area known for its large homes and well-to-do residents, such as Barack Obama (who lives across from the synagogue on Greenwood Avenue) and Muhammad Ali. The temple's architecture was inspired by those constructed during the Byzantine Period of Judaism. The minaret is not on top of the dome as it appears in this photo, but rather it is atop a tower that functions as a chimney, behind the building. Built for the Isaiah Israel congregation in 1924, the structure was designed by Alfred S. Alschuler, who drew his influence from photographs of the second-century Severus synagogue unearthed at Tiberias, in Galilee. The extensions were designed by architects John Alschuler (the son of Alfred) and Ron Dirsmith. The building was designated an official Chicago Landmark on June 9, 1997.