There is no requirement for where a Jewish person must pray. Communities form in living rooms and kitchens, in workplaces and schools, in tents and in sheds. But most of the time communities form in Synagogues, because Jews intend to always pray in a beautiful place that demonstrates their commitment to God. The synagogue, the place of worship, is the nucleus of Jewish life.
The development of Synagogues in America, both architecturally and religiously, is a meandering, complicated path throughout history. My thesis aims to understand the development- growing from a small group of ten men with no permanent residence to a multi-functional center of Jewish life- by dissecting that history. My research systematically divides the content chronologically, and each time period discussed explains a major shift in the progress of Synagogues. Through this search, one might better understand what the ideal synagogue looks like, because the answer may reside in the past rather than in what is functioning today.
My work, like my major, has two major components- architecture and engineering. I hope to understand how the spaces function for the purposes of the synagogue, and therefore understand how the architecture drives the program. On another level, I will explore the structures of these buildings to further analyze these designs.