North Shore Hebrew Academy by
Alexander Gorlin Architects

This award-winning multi-use synagogue and school auditorium is a stunning addition to the North Shore Hebrew Academy. The space of the Sanctuary is meant to evoke the Kabbalistic creation myth in which the original order of universe is shattered, the concept of "the breaking of the vessels.” A virtue is made of the need to bury most of the building below ground to satisfy zoning restrictions on the building’s height—light enters from above through clerestory windows on the periphery and a large cubic structure over the ark. Light and warmth fill the space making it conducive to prayer. A large door covered with brass panels rotates to close the ark when the room is used as an auditorium for the school, safeguarding the ark and acting as a backdrop for films and theater productions. The synagogue received an Excellence in Design Award from the New York State chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

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