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Building a house of gathering on our own: Jews, synagogues, architecture, and the building trades in the modern anglophone world

Barry L. Stiefel

<plain_text><page sequence="1">Building a house of gathering on our own: Jews, synagogues, architecture, and the building trades in the modern anglophone world BARRY L. STIEFEL England's first purpose-built synagogue (following the Resettlement of c. 1655) was London's Bevis Marks, built in 1700-1701 by the congregation of Sha'ar HaShamayim (Gates of Heaven). Believed to date even earlier, from the 1660s, was Nidhe Israel of Bridgetown, Barbados.1 However, from this time to the 1830s, non-Jews built not only England's synagogues but also those under "the Empire on which the sun never set". This was also true for the fledgling United States until the 1840s, separate from the British Empire since the War of Independence in 1775-83 but part of the anglophone world. Indeed, from the English Interregnum of 1649- 60 to the late Georgian period, the building trades - including that of architecture - were occupations in which English-speaking Jews rarely engaged. In other words, aside from the financing and the ceremonial groundbreaking, when the rabbi or congregational president may have used a spade to turn a lump of sod, Jews and their congregations participated minimally in the physical labour of erecting their own houses of worship. In other instances, English-speaking Jews purchased already existing buildings - sometimes even former churches - and modified them to varying degrees to meet their own spiritual and communal needs. Non-Jewish carpenters and masons were frequently hired to undertake substantial modifications to pre-existing buildings, though Jews would sometimes work on more ornate interior furnishings pertaining to ritual. This lack of Jewish participation in architecture and building was due to historical precedents established more than a thousand years earlier and half a world away. In summary, Jews were prohibited from engaging in the building trades by the medieval Christian and Islamic governments under which they lived. Additionally, most guilds of these professions prohibited Jewish membership. Even in medieval England, where Jews i Barry Stiefel, Jewish Sanctuary in the Atlantic World: A Social and Architectural History (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2014). Jewish Historical Studies, volume 46, 2014 131</page><page sequence="2">132 BARRY L. STIEFEL lived until their expulsion in 1290 and had a wider variety of professions to choose from compared to other realms, none are known to have actually constructed their own synagogue structure. 2 Thus, the lack of involvement by Jews in these occupations before the nineteenth century should not be seen as absence of interest but as a condition that was passed down from earlier times.3 The situation began to change following the sweeping reforms of the American and French (1789-99) revolutions, and the subsequent Napol- eonic Wars (1803-15), which ushered in liberal governments that did not restrict Jews as to which professions they could practise. These movements had an impact on England and its Empire as well but a generation had to pass before Jews in general gradually considered architecture and construction as a vocation. Oddly enough, it is in England that the earliest modern Jewish architect has been identified as working, in 1833, twenty- five years prior to the Jews Relief Act of 1858. Jews in the United States and mainland Europe soon followed, especially after the liberal revolutions of 1848 on the Continent.4 So, what happened? Why did Jews begin to design and build their own synagogues in the anglophone world? Was economics or interethnic pa- tronage a deciding factor? Who were these Jewish architects and builders and where did they get their training? Were these Jewish architects and builders exclusively men or were women involved too (considering that part of this period included the Women's Rights movement of the nine- teenth century)? Besides synagogues, what other architectural accom- plishments did they achieve? Furthermore, how does the situation in the United Kingdom compare with other nations in the anglophone world where Jews reside - such as Australia, Jamaica, South Africa, New Zealand (all now Commonwealth nations), Ireland, and the United States - espe- cially in respect of architectural significance (size, scale, aesthetic quali- ties, and so on)? Additionally, a study within the anglophone framework has greater 2 Anthony Paul Bale, The Jew in the Medieval Book: English Antisemitisms, 1350-1500 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 14. See also Patricia Skinner, ed., The Jews in Medieval Britain: Historical, Literary, and Archeoloijical Perspectives (Rochester, NY: Boydell &amp; Brewer, 2003). 3 See Barry Stiefel, "The Architectural Origins of the Great Early Modern Urban Synagogue", Leo Baeck Institute Year Book 56 (2011): 103-34. 4 See Saskia Coenen Snyder, Building a Public Judaism: Synagogues and Jewish Identity in Nineteenth-century Europe (Boston: Harvard University Press, 2012). Albert Rosengarten in Hesse came a close second in the late 1830s.</page><page sequence="3">Building a house of gathering 133 implications in respect to world Jewry as a whole. English is the most common first language among diaspora Jews, having surpassed Yiddish sometime in the mid- to late twentieth century. Thus, most diaspora Jewish communities are in anglo-oriented and acculturated societies. Only Hebrew is spoken by Jews to the same degree, and primarily in Israel (in contrast to the diaspora).5 So, this research on the origins of Jews in the architecture and building professions is also an analysis of where the majority of the contemporary diaspora resides. The jbreranners: Jewish architects and builders in the United Kingdom and United States During the Middle Ages, Jews were barred from the architecture and various building professions, as previously mentioned, due to prohibitions beyond their control. This is not to say that Jews were uninterested in architecture, however. For instance, in seventeenth-century Amsterdam, Rabbi Jacob Judah Leon (1603-1675), called "Templo", studied and pub- lished architectural treatises on King Solomon's Temple, which had some following among and influence on non-Jewish architects of the period.6 The eminent English architect Christopher Wren was among those who saw Templo's architectural model when he brought it to London for exhibition in 1675.7 There were also highly unusual exceptions, centred in early modern Eastern Europe (Bohemia and Poland-Lithuania), who defied the odds towards the end of this period. Theirs were vernacular buildings in respect of architectural design - relatively simple in construction with little exterior ornament - and hardly distinguishable from structures built during the late Middle Ages in this area of Eastern Europe. Here, Jewish carpenters were restricted to the meagre clientele of the Jewish quarter and shtetl. They include Judah Goldschmied in late seventeenth-century Prague (Meisel Synagogue) and Hillel Benjamin of Łask in the 1760S-80S (synagogues of Kórnik and Lutmiersk).8 But these Jewish craftsmen were rare and hardly the forebears of the architects and builders who came in greater numbers during the nineteenth century. David Mocatta (1806-1882) is the earliest known practising Jew to have 5 See Axel Stähler, ed., Anglophonejewish Literature (London: Routledge, 2007). 6 See Stiefel, "Architectural Origins". 7 Alan Balfour, Solomon's Temple: Myth, Conflict, and Faith (Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley- Blackwell, 2012), 199. 8 Carol Herselle Krinsky, Synagogues of Europe: Architecture, History, and Meaning (Mineóla, NY: Dover Publications, 1985), 42-4.</page><page sequence="4">134 BARRY L. STIEFEL Plate i Montefiore Synagogue in Ramsgate, England, designed by David Mocatta in 1833. The Illustrated London News, 3 November 1883. William A. Rosenthall Collection, Special Collections, College of Charleston Library. become an architect and design a synagogue in the modern world, not just the anglophone. He began with a plan for the Montefiore Synagogue in Ramsgate, England, built in 1833 (plate 1). Mocatta was a cousin of Sir Mo- ses Montefiore (1784-1885). The Montefiore Synagogue was the family's private synagogue, an extraordinary phenomenon.9 As the family patri- arch and patron, Moses Montefiore was in a position to decide unilaterally that his architect cousin would design the family's synagogue, paving the way for a new era in synagogue architecture by Jews. In contrast, Mocat- ta's slightly older contemporary, George Basevi (1794-1845, who was born Jewish but converted to Anglicanism as a youth like his first cousin, Ben- jamin Disraeli) never designed a synagogue. Ironically, both Mocatta and Basevi trained under the English architect John Soane (1753-1837). 10 Oth- er projects designed by Mocatta over the next decade were the Devonshire Place Synagogue (sometimes called the Brighton Regency Synagogue, 9 Ibid., 67-8, 424-6; Sharman Kadish, Jewish Heritage in England: An Architectural Guide (Swindon: English Heritage, 2006), 76-7. 10 James Picciotto, Sketches of Anglo-Jewish History (London: Trübner &amp; Company, 1875), 300.</page><page sequence="5">Building a house of gathering 135 built 1836-8) in Brighton and the Brighton Railway Station (built 1838), the Ouse Valley Viaduct (built 1841), and the Reform Congregation's Bur- ton Street Temple in London (built 1842). He was also elected a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1836. London's Reform Congre- gation espoused the movement within Judaism with which Mocatta iden- tified (in contrast to the Sephardic Orthodox traditions that his infamous cousin observed). This association may have enabled him to obtain the design project, the first non-private commission in England. Mocatta is known to have designed only Jewish houses of worship; this would not be the case for those who followed this torchbearer. Hyman Henry Collins (c. 1832-1905) became the second Jewish syna- gogue architect in England with his renovation of the Western Synagogue in St Alban's Place, London, in 1857. 11 From 1870, the United Synagogue began the central administration of synagogue design and development. Nathan S. Joseph (1834-1909) served as the United Synagogue's first "ar- chitect-surveyor" and, with the organization's building committee, deter- mined who would design synagogues and what they would look like. It is no coincidence that Joseph was a relative ofRachel Joseph Adler, the wife of Nathan Marcus Adler (1803-1890), Chief Rabbi of the British Empire at the time: he helped Joseph obtain the position of architect-surveyor. Joseph involved himself in the designs of several building projects - particularly the Garnethill in Glasgow (built 1879-81) and New West End (built 1877- 9) and Hampstead synagogues in London (built 1892) - though always in a supporting role within a team of architects who, usually, came from a di- versity of backgrounds. For instance, the lead architect for the Garnethill Synagogue was John McLeod (1838-1888), a Presbyterian. This was also the first purpose-built synagogue in Scotland, so Joseph's involvement as a Jewish architect is significant. London's New West End Synagogue's lead architect was George Audsley (1838-1925), a Scotsman, with the Jewish architect Edward Salomons (1828-1906) assisting. The lead architect for Hampstead Synagogue was Delissa Joseph (1859-1927), a nephew of Na- than S. Joseph.12 Delissa's family connection with the United Synagogue's architect-surveyor also lead to other projects, including London's Ham- mersmith &amp; West Kensington (built 1890-96) and Hackney (built 1897) ii Sharman Kadish, The Synagogues of Britain and Ireland: An Architectural and Social History (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2011), 75. 12 Krinsky, Synagogues o/Europe, 430; Eugene C. Black, "The Anglicization of Orthodoxy: The Adlers, Father and Son", in Profiles in Diversity: Jeu« in a Changing Europe, 1750-1870, ed. Frances Malino and David Sorkin (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1998), 295-325.</page><page sequence="6">136 BARRY L. STIEFEL Plate 2 Beth Elohim Synagogue in Charleston, South Carolina, completed in 1841 by David Lopez Jr. Photograph by the author. and Cardiff's Cathedral Road (built 1896-7) synagogues.13 Cardiff's was the first in Wales to be designed by a Jewish architect. Jewish architects on the isle oflreland began practising much later than in Britain. In 1964, Eugene Rosenberg (1907-1990) designed the Belfast Hebrew Congregation synagogue, the first in Northern Ireland.14 For the Republic oflreland there are Jewish architects but none have yet designed a synagogue, though this situation could, of course, change in the future. According to Sharman Kadish's leading research in The Synagogues of Britain and Ireland (2011), a Jewish builder has yet to physically construct a synagogue in the United Kingdom. Although there have been English Jews in the building trades, such as Abraham Davis and his brothers who built flats and workshops in the early twentieth century in London's East End, a synagogue project was never possible for them.15 13 Krinsky, Synagogues of Europe, 430; Kadish, Synagogues of Britain and Ireland, 128; Black, "Anglicization of Orthodoxy". 14 Kadish, Synagogues of Britain and Ireland, 241. 15 Ibid., 167; Isobel Watson, "Rebuilding London: Abraham Davis and his Brothers, 1881-1924", London Journal 29, no. 1 (May 2004): 62-84.</page><page sequence="7">Building a house of gathering 137 The case of the us is different from that of the uk. In Charleston, South Carolina, David Lopez, Jr. (1809-1884) built Beth Elohim's second synagogue in 1841, still in use by the congregation (plate 2; their first building, completed c. 1794, had been destroyed by fire in 1838). Shortly after completion, a pipe organ was installed in the synagogue's sanctuary, creating a rift within the congregation between reformers and traditionalists. After a congregational vote regarding the use of the organ, the reformers won with a slight majority, establishing the first permanent Reform congregation in the us. The traditionalists, who soon adopted the term "Orthodox", separated and established a new congregation, called Shearit Israel. Beth Elohim's builder chose orthodoxy, so he did not use the synagogue he had painstakingly built. David Jr. was not the only one in his family to dabble in the building trades, though he was the first to make a career out of it. His father, David Sr. (1750-1812), sold architectural ornaments from the family store. His better-known great-uncle, Aaron Lopez (1731-1782), a merchant in Newport, Rhode Island, experimented with the transport of prefabricated housing. In addition to numerous residences and public buildings in Charleston, David Jr.'s more significant construction accomplishments include the Farmers' &amp; Exchange Bank (built 1853-4), Zion Presbyterian Church (built 1858-9), and Institute Hall (built 1854), where South Carolina's Ordinance of Secession was signed in i860, initiating the American Civil War (1861-5). Zion Presbyterian Church, a black slave congregation under white supervision, may have been the second church built by a practising Jew in the us.16 The first was St John's Episcopal Church (built 1851-3) in Savannah, Georgia - for a white congregation - erected by Lopez's nephew, David Lopez Cohen (1820-1893).17 Cohen learned the building trade from his uncle along with this cousins, John H. 0833-1884) and Moses E. (1836-1907) - David Lopez, Jr.'s sons; however, Cohen was the most successful of the next generation. For instance, he built Charleston's Shearit Israel's synagogue in 1847, the second to be built by a Jew in the us.18 Ironically, Cohen was a member of the reform Beth Elohim when he built the Shearit Israel synagogue. David Jr. and 16 "Zion Church", Charleston Mercury, 5 April 1859, p. 1. 17 See James C. Potts, "David Lopez Cohen (1820-1893), Savannah Builder-Carpenter", i Aug. 1977, Vertical Files of the Georgia Historical Society, Savannah. 18 See "Consecration of the New Synagogue, Charleston, S.C.", Occident and Jewish American Advocate 5, no. 6 (Elul 560 7/ Sept. 1847). Cohen had relocated to Savannah by 1850, so was not part of the reconciliation of Beth Elohm and Shearit Israel in 1866.</page><page sequence="8">138 BARRY L. STIEFEL Cohen were also slaves owners who used their labour for their respective construction businesses, where it was permitted in the southern states until 1865. 19 The Slavery Abolition Act of 1833, as well as local ordinances in the northern states, had ended slavery everywhere else in the anglophone world. Indeed, since the Abolition Act and the opening of the Montefiore Synagogue, designed by Mocatta, took place in the same year, it can be assumed that Charleston's Beth Elohim and Shearit Israel were the only synagogues to have ever been built by Jews who owned slaves in the anglophone world.20 It was Leopold Eidlitz (1823-1908) who was the pioneering Jewish architect in America, though he had grown up in Prague and been educated in Vienna before emigrating to New York in 1843, aged twenty. He may have left Europe because of a lack of professional opportunity; the liberal revolutions that would provide it did not to take place for another five years. In New York, Eidlitz obtained an apprenticeship under Cyrus L. Warner (1789-1852) - coincidentally, the non-Jewish architect of Beth Elohim in Charleston - and Richard Upjohn (1802-1878), another eminent American architect. While Eidlitz was only one degree of separation from David Lopez, Jr. through Warner - he married Warner's daughter, Harriet, in 1845 - he missed the chance to work on Charleston's synagogue by a few years. However, when he acquired the commission to design New York's Wooster Street Synagogue, for Shaaray Tefila in 1847, he became the first Jew to design a synagogue in America. Unfortunately, the building no longer survives. A decade later, Eidlitz became a founding member of the American Institute of Architects.21 His more significant architectural projects included P. T. Barnum's house in Bridgeport, Connecticut (built 1848), the former Temple Emanu-El in New York City (built in 1866-8, destroyed 1927; plate 3), and the New York County Courthouse (built 1876-81). Partnering Eidlitz on the Temple Emanu-El project - perhaps the greatest project for each of their respective careers - was his brother, Marc Eidlitz (1826-1892), and Henry Fernbach (d. 1883), another early American 19 See Barry Stiefel, "David Lopez Jr.: Builder, Industrialist, and Defender of the Confederacy", American Jewish Archives Journal 64, nos. 1-2 (2012): 53-81 for further analysis of David Jr. and David Lopez Cohen. 20 See Barry Stiefel, "Synagogues, Slaves, and the Building Trades in the Confederate South," South Eastern Society of Architectural Historians Conference, Charleston, sc, 26-9 October 2011, which identifies all other architects and builders in the American South. David Jr. and Cohen were the only Jews. 21 See Rachel Wischnitzer, Synagogue Architecture in the United States: History and Interpretation (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1955), 43.</page><page sequence="9">Building a house of gathering 139 Plate 3 Temple Emanu-El in New York, built in 1866-8 (destroyed in 1927), designed by Leopold Eidlitz. William A. Rosenthall Collection, Special Collections, College of Charleston Library. Jewish architect. Although Marc Eidlitz had converted to Catholicism, he worked as the builder of Temple Emanu-El, using his construction business that he had established in 1852. Another project on which the Eidlitz brothers worked together was New York's Broadway Tabernacle (built 1857-9), a Presbyterian church.22 22 See Kathryn E. Holliday, Leopold Eidlitz: Architecture and Idealism in the Gilded Age (New York: W.W. Norton, 2008).</page><page sequence="10">140 BARRY L. STIEFEL The trendsetters: Jewish architects and builders across the Commonwealth Elsewhere within the Commonwealth, Jewish architects and builders were to be found in South Africa, Canada, Jamaica, and Australia. South Africa's early history of Jews designing synagogues is murky. There is evidence that Morris Jacob Harris (1875-1950) may have served as the architect in 1895 for the renovation of a synagogue in Johannesburg, located on President Street, but little more information is available as to what this project entailed. The building is no longer extant, so further study is difficult. From 1903, other evidence suggests that Hermann Kallenbach (1871-1945) may have designed a synagogue in Krugersdorp, a suburb of Johannesburg. Unfortunately, this building's location - let alone anything else about it - cannot be substantiated either. Kallenbach was a prolific South African architect, designing many monumental buildings, butno other synagogues can be confirmed. He submitted plans for the competition to design Johannesburg's new Great Synagogue on Wolmarans Street in 1911 but was not successful. Another, non-Jewish architect was selected for the project instead. Kallenbach is better known for his close friendship with Mahatma Gandhi, who resided in South Africa prior to initiating his non-violent independence movement in India. In fact, it was at Kallenbachs estate, Tolstoy Farm, where Gandhi developed his philosophy.23 The earliest confirmed Jewish-designed synagogue in South Africa is the Lion's Shul (built 1905-6) in Doornfontein, another Johannesburg suburb. Morris Jacob Harris was the architect for this building, one of the oldest still-standing synagogues in South Africa. He was born in London and went to South Africa in the late 1880s, where his father, Mark Louis Harris, served as a rabbi on the colonial frontier. Harris obtained his training through an apprenticeship at the firm Baker &amp; Masey, located in the town of Mafeking. The town was decimated during the Second Boer War (1899-1902), which became an opportunity for Harris to be involved in its reconstruction, holding the position of Municipal Surveyor between 1901 and 1905. Following this, he moved to Johannesburg, with 23 Richard Mendelsohn and Milton Shain, The Jews in South Africa: An Illustrated History (Johannesburg: Jonathan Ball, 2008), 98; "Kallenbach, Hermann", Artefacts, www. (accessed 27 Sept. 2012); see also Isa Sarid and Christian Bartolf, Hermann Kallenbach: Mahatma Gandhi's Friend in South Africa: A Concise Biography (Berlin: Gandhi-Informations-Zentrum, 1997).</page><page sequence="11">Building a house of gathering 141 his first major commission being the Lion's Shul, getting its name from two imposing lion statues that stand guard at the front entrance. Most of Harris's projects in Johannesburg were private residences for the city's white middle and upper classes. Between 1905 and 1912, Harris also served as the examiner of architectural practice at Transvaal University College. In the late 1910s, he changed career to politics. First, he served a term as president for the Transvaal Institute of Architects (1918-19), then the National Institute of Architects. He was also elected as a ward representative on Johannesburg's City Council and in 1923-4 was the mayor ofjohannesburg. After his term as mayor, Harris returned to private practice but also provided advice on architectural-related legislation, such as the Architects and Quantity Surveyors Act, passed by South Africa's Parliament in 1927. 24 Canada has a widely different story from that of other anglophone nations. In 1910, the members of not one but two Jewish congregations in Montreal - Poale Zedek and Tifereth Jerusalem - got together to do something that had never been done before in anglophone history: to build a house of worship on their own. Much surrounding the construction of these buildings still remains a mystery. There were Jewish immigrants who had arrived with experience in construction,25 but record-keeping and documentation of their work were not on the minds of these Jewish blue-collar workers or, if they were, little has survived for scholars to study. Congregants would volunteer their labour on the buildings in their own time, sometimes after a hard day's work. Additionally, of these two buildings, only Poale Zedek survives, currently used by a non-Jewish community of immigrants from Vietnam. The upper brick storeys of Poale Zedek Synagogue (plate 4) were constructed between 1920 and 1922 at 7161 St Urbain Street. Prior to this, from about 1910, the congregation used the raised basement as their sanctuary. Afterwards, the new sanctuary was built and seated approx- imately 350 people. The character-defining design elements on the building's exterior were two elongated Stars of David on the front façade 24 South African Friends of Beth Hatefutsoth, Jewish Life in the South African Country Communities (Johannesburg: South African Friends of Beth Hatefutsoth, 2002), 302; "Harris, Morris (Morrie) Jacob", Arte/octs, archframes.php?archid=Ó98 (accessed 27 Sept. 2012). 25 Gerald J. J. Tulchinsky, Canada's Jews: A People's Journey (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2008), 75-6. Between 1881 and 1901, Canada's Jewish population grew from 2,443 to 16,401.</page><page sequence="12">142 BARRY L. STIEFEL Plate 4 The former Poale Zedek Synagogue in Montreal, now a Vietnamese community centre. Note the diamond pattern, which once formed Stars of David. Photograph by the author. (these have recently been removed). This Judaic design was also repeated in the sash windows. The congregant-workers did this brickwork in order to make the building appear more "Jewish". Otherwise, as observed by the architect Michael Fish, the synagogue's vernacular construction is nearly identical to houses common in this area of Montreal.26 Indeed, the tradesmen who worked on Poale Zedek probably obtained their experience from building Montreal's early twentieth-century neighbourhoods. The city centre at this time was bursting with immigrants from across Europe. The only identifiable person to have worked on Poale Zedek is a "Mr. Morris" (first name unknown), a carpenter. This information comes from Benjamin Morris, the long-serving President of Poale Zedek during the mid-twentieth century, who was Mr. Morris's son. Mr. Morris may have worked on the building's structural framing as well as the sanctuary interior, which had fine woodworking.27 26 Michael Fish quoted by Sara Ferdman Tauben, "Aspirations and Adaptations: Im- migrant Synagogues of Montreal, 1880S-1945" (Master's thesis, Concordia University, 2004), 21-3. 27 Sheldon Levitt, Lynn Milstone, and Sidney T. Tenenbaum, Shuls: A Study of Canadian Synagogue Architecture (Toronto: S. Levitt, L. Milstone, S. Tenenbaum, 1977), 66-7.</page><page sequence="13">Building a house of gathering 143 Montreal's other synagogue building, Tifereth Jerusalem, which was completed c. 1911 at 6627 Rue Cartier, was sometimes also called the Rossland Synagogue, in honour of the company (Ross Realty) that donated the land for the building, as well as Roite Shul (Red Shul), because it used red bricks. Less information survives on this no longer extant building than for Poale Zedek, such as why the owner of the Ross Realty, Lieutenant- Colonel James George Ross (1861-1956), a distinguished member of Canada's Scottish upper crust with connections to the Montreal Board of Trade and the Crown Trust Company, would donate land to a blue-collar congregation of Eastern European Jewish immigrants.28 Perhaps he had a Jewish employee who had the right connections? As for the motivation as to why the congregants of Poale Zedek and Tifereth Jerusalem built their own synagogues, one can only speculate that wanting a synagogue of their own was the primary cause. It certainly would have instilled a sense of pride, as exhibited by Benjamin Morris regarding his father's work. While they may have not had the economic means to contract an architect or construction firm, they had the vocational training and know-how to do it on their own. Once they had a parcel of land in hand, they could obtain and assemble building materials at their leisure. Perhaps these synagogue undertakings were more appealing and motivating than purchasing an already existing residential building and modifying it into a shtiebel, as was commonly done by Montreal's Jewish immigrant congregations. After all, constructing a physical building as a community also builds a psychological sense of fraternity among the participants. Coinciding with the congregants of Poale Zedek beginning work on the upper portion of their synagogue, the members of Toronto's Beth Jacob began their own synagogue project near the corner of Henry and Cecil Streets. As a whole, the congregants of Beth Jacob were of higher socio-economic standing. Instead of physically labouring to build their synagogue, they contracted an architect and builder. The brick Romanesque Revival-style Beth Jacob, designed by the Jewish architect Benjamin Brown (1890-1974), is a significant work of architecture (plate 28 Montreal, Jewish Public Library Archives, Poale Zedek materials; Sara Ferdman Tau- ben, Traces of the Past: Montreal's Early Synagogues (Montreal: Véhicule Press, 2011); Isabelle Bouchard and Gabriel Malo, "Les synagogues du Plateau Mont-Royal au 20e siècle: In- ventaire préliminaire/ The Synagogues of the Plateau Mont-Royal in the 20th Century: Preliminary Inventory", project directed by Susan Bronson (Ms., Université de Montreal, 2000).</page><page sequence="14">144 BARRY L. STIEFEL Plate 5 Elevation drawing of the Beth Jacob Synagogue on Henry Street, Toronto, 1919-22, by Benjamin Brown. Ontario Jewish Archives, fonds 49, series 1, file 2. 5). In 1966, the congregation moved to a new location and the building is presently used as a Greek Orthodox church.29 Benjamin Brown (1890-1974), though born in Lithuania, was raised in Canada, having gained his architecture degree from the University of Toronto. Most of his projects were residential, commercial, and light- industrial buildings, all in the Toronto area. Beth Jacob Synagogue (built 1920-22) and the Hebrew Institute (built 1923-4) were his only projects for community-oriented institutions, let alone Jewish ones. Nonetheless, many of his clients were Jews, such as Simon Rabinowitz, Mendel Granatstein, and Mendel Mehr. Therefore, not only was Brown one of 29 Sheldon Levitt, Lynn Milstone, and Sidney T. Tenenbaum, Treasures 0/ a People: The Synagogues of Canada (Toronto: Lester &amp; Orpen Dennys, 1985), 63; see also Levitt, Milstone, and Tenenbaum, Shuls, 28-30.</page><page sequence="15">Building a house of gathering 145 Plate 6 Shaare Shalom Synagogue in Kingston, Jamaica, designed by Rudolph Daniel Cohen Henriques and built by the Henriques Brothers Construction Company in 1912. William A. Rosenthall Collection, Special Collections, College of Charleston Library. Canada's first successful Jewish architects but, more importantly, he was also Canadian-trained.30 "Tribal" patronage may have assisted in Brown's success as well. By the early 1930s as many as nineteen architects in Canada identified themselves as Jewish, with eight of these born in Canada. Of those who were immigrants many got their architectural educations in Canada, like Brown. The majority of Canada's Jewish architects practised in Ontario (a total of fifteen), with a dozen based in Toronto. The remaining included two in Winnipeg and a third in Montreal.31 In Jamaica's capital, Kingston, stands Shaare Shalom Synagogue, completed in 1912 (plate 6). It was both designed and constructed by Jews: Rudolph Daniel Cohen Henriques (1881-1955) as the architect, and the Henriques Brothers Construction Company. The edifice echoes the eclectic architectural style of the previous brick building, but was constructed out of reinforced concrete in order to resist earthquakes. The 30 "Benjamin Brown", Ontario Jewish Archives, Benjamin-Brown (accessed 12 Nov. 2014). 31 Louis Rosenberg and M. Weinfeld, Canada's Jews: A Social and Economic Study o/Jews in Canada in the 1930s (Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1993), 196.</page><page sequence="16">146 BARRY L. STIEFEL six Henriques brothers - Emanuel (1880-1953), Rudolph Daniel, Vernon (1883-1949), Horace (1885-1935), Owen Karl (1888-1951), and Fabien Lancelot (1889-1971) - were the sons of Samuel Philippe Cohen Henriques (1855-1925) and Rosa Emanuel (1859-1910). Samuel was first employed as Jamaica's Director of Public Works and, later, at the firm Purdon &amp; Cox, Contractors and Engineers. In these positions he worked on civil engineering projects across the island, as well as in Cuba and Ecuador. As his sons completed their educations, he found them employment at the places he worked, giving them extensive training in engineering. The four oldest brothers went on to work on the American-led Panama Canal Project, which further refined their professional skills. Then in January 1907 catastrophe struck - and opportunity for Henriques Brothers - when a massive earthquake devastated Kingston. A subsequent fire ravaged the city even further. The six brothers reunited in Jamaica and spearheaded the task of reconstruction. Shaare Shalom Synagogue was one of their noteworthy accomplishments, but not alone. These include, during the immediate years after the earthquake, the Ward Theatre, the Constant Spring Hotel, the Coronation Building, Nuttal Hospital, Aguaita Vale Great House, and the Hanover Street Masonic Temple. After recovery from the earthquake, Henriques Brothers took on substantial infrastructural improvement projects, such as Montego Bay's electrical power system in 1926. The six brothers also experimented with venture capital, opening their first Ford dealership in 1908, the first in Jamaica as well as outside North America. The business was so successful that Henry Ford did not seem to mind that Henriques Brothers was Jewish, nor did it bother them too much that he was antisemitic. Other successful Henriques Brothers' businesses include the Kingston Industrial Works and Belmont Dry Dock, which repaired ships as well as building submarine chasers for the British Navy; the Jamaican Match Industry Company; and the New Yarmouth Sugar Estate &amp; Distillery.32 "Down under" is Nahum Barnet (1855-1931), a Jewish architect from Melbourne, Australia. A friend of his was quoted in Barneťs obituary as saying "that there was a building designed by Mr. Barnet in every street and thoroughfare of Melbourne".33 Although this may be a 32 The material on Henriques Brothers and its accomplishments comes from Marilyn Delevante and Anthony Albergai great work, The Island of One People: An Account 0/ the Historu ofthe Jews of Jamaica (Kingston, Jamaica: Ian Handle, 2006). 33 "Death of Mr. Nahum Barnet", The Argus (Melbourne), 2 Sept. 1931, p. 6.</page><page sequence="17">Building a house of gathering 147 tad exaggerated by a loyal friend, Barnet had a highly successful and prolific career. He is considered one of Australia's great architects. After obtaining his education and training from the University of Melbourne, he began his career at the firm Terry &amp; Oakden, where he helped design Working Men's College, completed in 1887. Eventually, Barnet established his own practice, with two more exemplary buildings being the Collins Street Auditorium (built 1912-13) and the Melbourne Synagogue (built 1929), a monumental edifice. The synagogue for the Melbourne Hebrew Congregation was the only Jewish house of worship that he designed in its entirety, though he did work on a renovation and expansion to the St Kilda Synagogue in 1903-4. In contrast to the architects and builders previously discussed, Barnet designed no houses of worship for other religions, though he did design Melbourne's Young Women's Christian Association (ywca) building.34 Lastly, a synagogue in New Zealand has yet to be designed or constructed by a Jewish person.35 Architecture, construction, and gender roles Among these first architects and builders no Jewish woman has been encountered. Recall that the individual identities of the congregants who built Montreal's Poale Zedek and Tifereth Jerusalem are largely unknown; women volunteers may have been among the workforce. On the old Anshei Ukraina (built 1940), at 5116 Rue St Urbain in Montreal, is a cornerstone in Yiddish that recognizes the Ladies Auxiliary, who "volunteered and contributed to the construction of this building".36 What precisely the Ladies Auxiliary did is unclear; it could have included fundraising, a marketing campaign, as well as physical construction labour (or a combination of activities). Indeed, the women at Anshei Ukraina could have been following a system established by those at Poale Zedek and Tifereth Jerusalem. As of 1931 there were only two female architects in Canada and neither was Jewish.37 In the us, Dorothy Wormser Coblentz (b. 1894) obtained her architecture education from the University of California, Berkeley. Although she never designed a synagogue - probably because 34 Ibid. 35 Research conducted at the New Zealand Jewish Archives, Feb. 2013. 36 Site visit to Anshei Ukraina, May 2012; see also Tauben, Traces ofthe Past, 89. 37 Rosenberg and Weinfeld, Canada's]ews, 196.</page><page sequence="18">148 BARRY L. STIEFEL of the endemic discrimination many professional women receive - San Francisco's Emanu-El Sisterhood Residence Club (built 1923) was among her accomplishments.38 Coblentz is an excellent example of not only the expanded participation of Jews in the architectural design field - a profession traditionally assigned to men - but also of the women's rights movement of the early twentieth century. Indeed, into the late twentieth century, the participation of women in architecture and (professional) building trades was relatively minimal, until the feminist movement had had time to have a more profound impact on Western society.39 Even today, architecture and construction are fields dominated by men, though the fields of heritage conservation and architectural history have a surprising number of women. An "early" example in England is Ruth Stern (née Delow), mid-late twentieth century, who had an architectural firm in partnership with her husband, David Stern (1920-2003), that designed several synagogues.40 It is important to understand the availability of professional opportunity (or the lack thereof) in architecture and construction trades for Jewish women during the nineteenth and first half of the twentieth centuries. Take as examples Coblentz in the us and Canada's Benjamin Brown, an interesting "tale of two cities". Both were born in North America to immigrant parents in the early 1890s, acquired their educations at reputable institutions of higher learning, and made their debut on the Jewish architecture scene within a year of each other. Coblentz's career pursuits and ambitions were no more different from or less worthy than Brown's. Researching the contributions ofwomen within architecture, let alone any other field dominated by men, is more difficult due to the lack of available documentation. Since men have historically been (and still are) in positions of decision-making, they decide what gets preserved as well as studied. Additionally, inquiry is necessary on the topic of Jewish masculinity vis-à-vis the feminist movement. Economic class factors are also an issue, with preference given to those more affluent. A case in point is the women of Montreal's Anshei Ukraina, another blue-collar congregation, where the only known documentation of their involvement in the development of this synagogue is a brief inscription on a plaque. It 38 Jeanne E. Abrams, Jewish Women Pioneering the Frontier Trail: A History in the American West (New York: New York University Press, 2006), 158. 39 Lori A. Brown, Feminist Practices: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Women in Architecture (Farnham: Ashgate, 2011). 40 Kadish, Synagogues o/Britain and Ireland, 237, 238.</page><page sequence="19">Building a house of gathering 149 leaves many unanswered questions about these women's identities and what specifically they did and how. For instance, were they continuing a tradition initiated by their sisters at Poale Zedek and Tifereth Jerusalem more than two decades earlier? Appreciating the social aspect of architectural history and Jews The methodology of the first Jewish architects and builders in the anglophone world is mine. The material on the UK predominantly comes from Kadish's magnum opus, The Synagogues of Britain and Ireland, in which David Mocatta and others are recognized for their great accomplish- ments, beginning with the Montefiore Synagogue in Ramsgate. However, Mocatta and his synagogues are only a small part of a much larger survey of synagogues and architects that covers the entirety of the British Isles, from 1701 to the present. In the us, Holliday published Leopold Eidlitz: Architecture and Idealism in the Gilded Age, in which she goes into great detail about the life and works of Eidlitz. To date, it is the only published full-length monograph on a "first Jewish architect". Indeed, it was the inspiration for my 2012 journal article on David Lopez, Jr., the first Jewish builder within the us.41 Awareness and appreciation that Benjamin Brown is documented as the first Jewish architect to design a synagogue in Toronto during the 1920s is evident from the brief biographies about him, such as in the Biographical Dictionary 0/ Architects in Canada.42 However, his context within metropolitan Toronto is all that is mentioned, not the entirety of Canada. Likewise, in the works of such scholars as Sara Ferdman Tauben, who specializes in Montreal's synagogues, the fact that Poale Zedek and Tifereth Jerusalem were built by congregants is stated, but there is no deeper analysis of how exceptional this was within Canadian Jewish history. In other words, rabbinic elites, communal commentators (in newspapers), and historians (until now) have failed to notice this as a transformation among Canada's Jews. And Canada is not alone in this respect. For the other countries covered (including Australia, Jamaica, South Africa, New Zealand, and Ireland), I set about researching who the first 41 See Stiefel, "David Lopez, Jr.". 42 See Robert G. Hill, "Brown, Benjamin", Biographical Dictionary o/Architects in Canada, 1800-1950: Alphabetical Name List (2013), (search under "Brown, Benjamin"; accessed 27 Feb. 2013).</page><page sequence="20">150 BARRY L. STIEFEL Jewish architects and builders were for each country, as well as what synagogues they may have designed or built. In certain instances, such as Jamaica, the quest was relatively easy since there was only one synagogue dating from a time when Jews were involved in the design and construction professions. New Zealand and Ireland presently have a relatively small number of synagogues, with all architects and builders confirmed as non- Jews. Countries such as Australia and South Africa were more difficult. Indeed, besides the exceptions of Mocatta, Eidlitz, and Lopez in the u K and us, knowledge of a country's first Jewish architect or builder, let alone any synagogues they built, was either absent or forgotten. At least in Canada, Benjamin Brown and the synagogues of Beth Jacob, Poale Zedek, and Tifereth Jerusalem were known, even if their full historical and architectural significance in respect to Jewish "firsts" was not fully appreciated. Thus, this research brought to light many important Jewish firsts related to synagogue architecture. Furthermore, by using a multinational approach, specifically looking at anglophone countries, a better, more comprehensive understanding of this topic was achieved. Across the English-speaking world, more information is available on Jewish architects than building tradesmen. This is probably due to the common higher social esteem in which architects are held in these societies, who are highly educated white-collar workers, in contrast to blue-collar construction workers. Findings Jews participating as first architects and builders in their countries came from all walks of life within Judaism: Ashkenazic and Sephardic; immigrant, first generation, and local-born; secular, Reform, and Orthodox; as well as upper-class white-collar and working-class blue- collar. Jewish women too participated relatively early in these endeav- ours, despite the discrimination and lack of attention as a whole that pioneering professional women experienced during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The opportunity to build one's house of worship was democratic, and the socio-political environment within the communities where these synagogues were built was open-minded, in contrast to the past and to other parts of the world at the time. A family connection, in addition to tribal patronage, was also important among architects and builders. Jews in anglophone countries chose architectural styles according to their liking and popular fashion. Indeed, the styles</page><page sequence="21">Building a house of gathering 151 cross much of Western society. Thus, location appears to be irrelevant, from metropolitan London to colonial Kingston, as well as post-colonial Montreal, Charleston, Johannesburg, and Melbourne. Nor does there appear to be any preference for particular architectural styles by Jewish architects and builders, and their buildings run the gamut from high to vernacular. The only constraint was what the congregation or patron could economically afford. One last factor to consider is that, with the exception of Leopold Eidlitz in the us, the first Jewish designers of synagogues obtained their training in the countries where they practised. This is remarkable if one considers that many of the world's English-speaking architecture educational institutions were being founded at the time when Jews were entering the profession; these include London's Architectural Association School of Architecture (in 1847), the Massachusetts Institute ofTechnology's School of Architecture (in 1865), the University of Melbourne's Architecture School (during the 1860s), and Canada's Faculty of Architecture at the University of Toronto (in 1890). While not the first to enrol at institutions like these, Jews began entering them relatively early in their histories. Previously, architects obtained their training through a pupillage system, which was far less democratic as well as difficult when antisemitism was more endemic. Thus, John Soane was exceptional in taking both Basevi and Mocatta under his tutelage. All instances also correlate with Jewish upper and middle classes taking advantage of expanded educational opportunities, enabled by greater social mobility and career aspirations.43 Australia, Canada, and South Africa's Jewish populations were still relatively small during the early nineteenth century. Not until the 1880s to the 1930s did Australian, Canadian, and South African Jewry also grow to become significant enough in size to establish their own middle classes.44 This Jewish middle class also wanted places for worship, creating an increased demand for synagogues. While Jamaica's Jewish population - in contrast to all other countries studied - is the smallest, it is precisely during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries that Jamaican Jews were at their greatest number, between about 2,400 and 2,50o.45 This period also coincides with Jewish architects designing synagogues in Scotland and Wales for the 43 See Snyder, Building a Publicjudaism; Holliday, Leopold Eidlitz. 44 See Tulchinsky, Canada's Jews; Mendelsohn and Shain, Jews in South Africa; Suzanne D. Rutland, Thejeuis in Australia (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005). 45 Delevante and Alberga, Island of One People, 196.</page><page sequence="22">152 BARRY L. STIEFEL first time, as well as the first female Jewish architect in the United States beginning her career. As the Jewish middle class developed, so a demographic was created that considered venturing into the building trade and architecture professions. Indeed, it was an extension of an already greater trend in which children of working-class immigrants often sought professional education, such as in the fields of medicine, law, and business. It was the emerging Jewish middle class who aspired to and succeeded in a profession that was non- traditional for Jews, despite the financial and training difficulties in doing so. Only the cold sting of social antisemitism stood in their path and even that was melting away. This development had also occurred in the UK and us during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, where even more ventured into architecture and construction than had in the 1830s and40S.46 Construction trades, such as carpentry, during this period were still largely under an apprenticeship system, despite the growing numbers of "mechanic schools", as they were called. David Lopez, Jr.'s teacher is unknown. While members of his family may have influenced his career in the construction business, one theory is that his non-Jewish father-in-law from his first marriage may have been his teacher, but this is speculative.47 This contrasts with the six Henriques brothers, whose father, Samuel, was already an engineer and guided the brothers on their career path in Jamaica. Meanwhile, the builders of Canada's synagogues, Poale Zedek and Tifereth Jerusalem, were unique within the anglophone world. Theirs was a sizeable, nameless demographic, instead of a small number of known individuals. In Canada and possibly elsewhere, Jewish immigrants entered various blue-collar construction trades (Abraham Davis in London being another example), but only in Canada do we see grassroots organization to build their house ofworship. The first Jewish architects and builders in the us not only constructed synagogues but also churches. Not so elsewhere, though Australia's Nahum Barnet came close with a ywca building. In all these countries, it was commonplace during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (and earlier) for architects of various Christian denominations to remain 46 See Adam D. Mendelsohn, "Tongue Ties: Religion, Culture, and Commerce in the Making of the Anglophone Jewish Diaspora, 1840-1870" (PhD diss., Brandeis University, 2008), an excellent analysis of the socio-economic conditions oflews in English-speaking countries (which, indeed, influenced the survey structure of this article). 47 See Stiefel, "David Lopez, Jr.".</page><page sequence="23">Building a house of gathering 153 faithful to their co-religious when building houses of worship.48 Thus, just as it was peculiar for American Jews to design or build a church in the us, so it was strange for a Christian to design or build a synagogue. Hence, it was normal that David Mocatta, Benjamin Brown, and Morris Jacob Harris did not design any churches. Those who broke ranks to design and construct houses of worship for another religion did so for economic reasons. Architects and builders making social statements, in this respect, were the exception. In closing, while England lead the world in having the first modern Jewish architect to design a synagogue, Jews in other anglophone countries were important in being the first to erect houses ofworship there too. While these achievements have still to be attained in New Zealand and Ireland, Jews have made impressive contributions to architecture and building across the anglophone world, where the majority of diasporic Jewry resides. 48 See Holliday, Leopold Eidlitz, 29.</page></plain_text>

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