The tumultuous history of the Jewish people, often marked by exile and persecution, precluded the emergence of a distinctive style of religious architecture. Yet the myriad nations and cultures in which these communities of faith have taken root during the past two millennia have left their mark on their places of worship. Structures that give physical form to memory and identity, synagogues function as houses of prayer, study, and community.
Grace Cohen Grossman, former senior curator at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, presents an survey of the art and architecture of synagogues from a wide range of eras and places—Israel in antiquity to Renaissance Venice, Morocco to China, Central Europe to suburban America—examining the interplay among faith, design, and geographic and cultural settings.
Learn more about synagogues, listen to clips from Smithsonian Folkways recordings>>