Beth Israel Synagogue (Cambridge, Massachusetts)

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Beth Israel Synagogue
Beth Israel Synagogue Cambridge MA.jpg
Beth Israel Synagogue (Cambridge, Massachusetts) is located in Massachusetts
Beth Israel Synagogue (Cambridge, Massachusetts)
Beth Israel Synagogue (Cambridge, Massachusetts) is located in the US
Beth Israel Synagogue (Cambridge, Massachusetts)
Location 238 Columbia St., Cambridge, Massachusetts
Coordinates 42°22′9″N 71°5′48″W / 42.36917°N 71.09667°W / 42.36917; -71.09667Coordinates: 42°22′9″N 71°5′48″W / 42.36917°N 71.09667°W / 42.36917; -71.09667
Area less than one acre
Built 1901 (1901)
Architect Douglass, Nathan
Architectural style Romanesque
MPS Cambridge MRA
NRHP Reference # 82001921[1]
Added to NRHP April 13, 1982

Beth Israel Synagogue is a historic former Jewish synagogue building at 238 Columbia Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Built in 1901, it was the first and principal synagogue to serve the East Cambridge area, and is a fine local example of Romanesque architecture. Now converted into residential condominiums, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.[1]

Description and history[edit]

The former Beth Israel Synagogue stands in The Port neighborhood of eastern Cambridge, on the east side of Columbia Street, between Hampshire and Market Streets. It is a two story brick building with a gabled roof and flanking square towers. Its Romanesque styling includes bands of narrow round-arch windows and a large Syrian arch sheltering the main entrance. Brick corbelling adorns the eaves of the pyramidal tower roofs, and is featured in multiple bands at the base of the front gable. The building was designed by Nathan Douglass[2] and completed in 1903.[3]

The known history of Jewish worship in East Cambridge begins in 1898, with the founding of Congregation Anshai Sfard. It originally met in private residences. Congregation Beth Israel was founded in 1900, and construction was begun on this building in 1901. In 1906 the congregation divide over doctrinal differences, resulting in the founding of Congregation Agudath Ashkenazim.[3] Congregation Anshai Sfard merged with Beth Israel in 1957.[4] In 1962 Beth Israel and Agudath Ashkenazim merged to form Temple Beth Shalom of Cambridge, and the new congregation chose to use the Temple Ashkenaz building on Tremont Street in Cambridge.[3] By 1982, the Beth Israel building, no longer used as a synagogue, was taken over by the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places.[2] The former synagogue building currently houses condominium units.[5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b National Park Service (2008-04-15). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ a b "NRHP nomination and MACRIS inventory record for Beth Israel Synagogue". Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Retrieved 2017-01-10. 
  3. ^ a b c A Century of Shalom: An Exhibit on The History of the Jewish Community in Cambridge
  4. ^ Life Magazine, June 24, 1957, Old Rite Unites Temples: Two Orthodox Synagogues Merge in Cambridge, Mass., p. 85
  5. ^ Guide to the Records of Congregation Beth Israel-Cambridge, MA, American Jewish Historical Society