Temple Beth Zion -Table of Contents

Temple Beth Zion
Exterior /  West Window /  Balcony



Chief architect:

Max Abramovitz, of Harrison and Abramovitz

Windows, Ten Commandment tablets, Menorah artist:

Ben Shahn

Windows artist:

Shahn's painting adapted by Benoit Gilsoul (BEN wah JEEL soul)

Windows fabricator:

Willet Studios

Temple status:

Included in the Linwood Preservation District

Abramovitz began writing about synagogue design well in advance of his first free-standing synagogue commission (Brandeis University’s Jewish chapel in 1955). 

In the May 1948 issue of the American Institute of Architects Bulletin, Abramovitz writes: “…since biblical days synagogues have been built in every land in every known style…But the challenge remains – to create a religious structure with an honest architectural expression free of false stylistic trends.”

Nearly 20 years later, Abramovitz was able to achieve these aspirations at Temple Beth Zion.
- Sarah Sher, Abramovitz’s Temple Beth Zion "Cupcake" Synagogue  DOCOMOMO US (online May 2016)

Being constructed in the round, the building does not contain a cornerstone. Instead, the original cornerstone from the building at 599 Delaware is placed in the rear wall of the sanctuary ark. To it has been added the phrase "Rebuilt 1966."

The west stained glass window, created by Ben Shahn, represents the 150th (last) Psalm:

Praise ye the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power.
Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness.
Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp.
Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs.
Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals.
Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord.
Praise ye the Lord.

Cf., Westminster Presbyterian Church's "Praise" window.- also by Willet Studios

Click on illustrations for larger size -- and for more information

Mr. & Mrs. E. Crosby Willet / Max Abramovitz / Henry Lee Willet in 1967

E. Crosby Willet in 2009



Curved sheets of Alabama limestone

Looking north

The west stained-glass window

Detail - West window




West window is behind the organ

The pipe organ features trumpets from the Lafayette Theater organ

Some of the 4,000 organ pipes

Some of the 4,000 organ pipes

The concrete walls are bathed in a diffused natural light



Blue reflections from the east window

Blue reflections from the east window


See also:

Special thanks to Executive Director Mark Criden for his cooperation
Wendee G. Lorbeer
for her encouragement
Temple Beth Zion HOME PAGE

Photos and their arrangement 2003 Chuck LaChiusa
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