THE SYNAGOGUE OF CONGREGATION GEMILUTH CHASSODIM

 THE JEWISH TEMPLE IN ALEXANDRIA, LOUISIANA

 WAS ADMITTED TO THE NATIONAL HISTORIC REGISTER ON JANUARY 29, 2014.

Gemiluth Chassodim Synagogue was admitted to the National Register of Historic Places on January 29, 2014 as a notable example of the post-war architectural style known as Mid-Century Modern.  It was designed by a member of the Congregation, Max J Heinberg, founding partner of the architectural firm Barron, Heinberg  and Brocato. His design incorporated elements closely associated with Frank Lloyd Wright, and reflects an architectural style embraced by Percival Goodman and Eric Mendelsohn in the mid-twentieth century that envisioned synagogues as “temples of light.” It was constructed by Barnet Brezner, a local contractor and member of the Congregation. The original section, built in 1952-53, includes the social hall, kitchen and classrooms and reflects International Style elements. In 1960-61, the Temple built an addition of even greater architectural significance that includes additional classrooms, administrative offices, conference room, library, museum, two foyers, interior courtyards, and most importantly, a sanctuary. The sanctuary is said to be “a work of abstract sculpture” in Mid-Century Modern style. It features floor-to-ceiling art glass panels that create a stained-glass effect in a non-traditional way. The synagogue’s most unique feature, as viewed from inside and out, is a sharply angled prow-like architectural feature, or “lantern,” that rises above the Ark of the bimah, filling the area with natural light. This building is the third home of the congregation; it was founded October 2, 1859.

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