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Synagogues Without Jews Hardcover – May 31, 2001

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 354 pages
  • Publisher: Jewish Publication Society of America (May 31, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0827606923
  • ISBN-13: 978-0827606920
  • Product Dimensions: 11.8 x 8.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,135,391 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Miriam Fleischman on September 30, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Winner of the National Jewish Book Award 2000, this jewel of a book should be in every Jewish home and in as many high-school, university and public libraries as possible, Jewish and otherwise.
Like many of life's blessings that seem "accidental," a holiday in Italy developed into this fascinating history of synagogues and their communities in Italy [6 communities], Croatia and Serbia [3], Greece [3], Austria [3], the Czech Republic [7], Slovakia [7] and Hungary [5].
That "vacation" expanded into five seasons of research on 350 synagogues. Thirty-four chapters of text are devoted to the history of specific Jewish communities. The excellent photographs of synagogue interiors and exteriors were taken by the authors unless otherwise noted. Fieldwork was followed by seven years of research and writing.
Writing in the Foreword in 1999, Dr. Joseph Burg mentioned the authors' "infinite work, tireless devotion and careful investigation." Their energy has created a rich texture of information on the synagogues and the Jews who worshipped in them. This combines with a competent description of the architectural and decorative aesthetics.
The earliest synagogue discussed [1408] is in the former ghetto of Dubrovnik, where today a congregation of 47 members, up from 23 some six years ago, worships at number 3 Jewish Street. The most recent one [1925] the Neolog synagogue in Lucenec, Slovakia, was designed by architect Lipot Baumhorn. The small community remaining after the Holocaust sold it to the State for repair and use for cultural purposes. However, the authorities leased it out as an agricultural warehouse. In the late 1970s, when the tenants moved out, the building was left open to vandals.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 18, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Winner of the National Jewish Book Award 2000, this jewel of a book should be in every Jewish home and in as many high-school, university and public libraries as possible, Jewish and otherwise.
Like many of life's blessings that seem "accidental," a holiday in Italy developed into this fascinating history of synagogues and their communities in Italy [6 communities], Croatia and Serbia [3], Greece [3], Austria [3], the Czech Republic: Bohemia and Moravia [7], Slovakia [7] and Hungary [5].
That "vacation" expanded into five seasons of research on 350 synagogues. Thirty-four chapters of text are devoted to the history of specific Jewish communities. The excellent photographs of synagogoue interiors and exteriors were taken by the authors, unless otherwise noted. Fieldwork was followed by seven years of research and writing.
Writing the Foreword in 1999, the late Dr. Joseph Burg mentioned the authors' "infinite work, tireless devotion and careful investigation." Their energy has created a rich mixture of information on the synagogues and the Jews who worshipped in them. This combines with a competent description of the architectural and decorative aesthetics.
The earliest mentioned synagogue (1408) is in the former Dubrovnik ghetto, where today a congregation of 47 members, up from 23 some years ago, worships at No. 3 Jewish Street. The most recent (1925), the Neolog synagogue in Lucenec, Slovakia, was designed by architect Lipot Baumhorn. The small community remaining after the Holocaust sold it to the state for repair and use for cultural purposes. However, the authorities leased it out as an agricultural warehouse. In the late 1970s, when the tenant moved out, the building was left open to vandals.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dianna on December 29, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is a beautiful book! The pictures are gorgeous, and the accompanying text is clear, concise, and extremely informative. Each chapter contains a beautiful and poignant story of a lost community. I shared this book with my parents, who come from and are familiar with some of the communities mentioned in the book. It brought back bittersweet memories for them, as they are survivors of the Shoah. I showed this book to my children and their friends, and the pictures generated some very good discussions. This is a book that belongs on every coffee table - and it won't stay there for too long. It's a book to be picked up and looked over slowly and lovingly. Each chapter is to be savoured. I highly recommend it!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have dual interests in History and Architecture. Many works in both disciplines marginalize the minorities, not dealing with Synagogues, Mosques or other works that might not be Christian or with much of the History of these religious groups. Certainly, one could not state that a good many of the buildings still existent might be of the quality of the most famous cathedrals, but some exposure is worthwhile nonetheless. A beautiful work on Chinese Architecture is available from Yale University Press. I know of no similar work on Synagogues, though I have read a work on Islamic palaces built in India.
The work in question is a bit out of date, but has good summaries of the history of select communities, of some few who had yet survived at the time of research, if not of the work's publication. It has very good quality pictures and some few layouts of the structures. Some general chapters at the end summarize features of communities and synagogue structure.
It is quite likely that very little of these structures will persist and that the ones remaining will have changed so as to be recognized only with difficulty for their past function.
If we cannot preserve our past, we should at least record it to allow all to understand it. To not have a book such as this available would allow a good part of the past to be essentially erased.
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