East End Temple
Backstory and Context
On the night of September 10, 2001, the congregation finalized their plans for their new synagogue. With the events of 9/11 the following day, these plans were postponed until 2004, when BKSK Architects and LWC Design renovated the residence into a modern, multi-level synagogue with a skylit sanctuary with a mezzanine level. In 2005, the sanctuary was awarded by American Institute of Architects, which was founded by none other than Richard Morris Hunt, the building's original designer.
As an inclusive congregation, the East End Temple was designed to feel welcoming, accessible, and non-hierarchical. The temple also holds a religious school for K-7th grades, adult education programs such as the Israeli Film Series, and the Helene Spring Library (in the former dining room of the townhouse). Religious, music, comedy, and guest speaker special events are hosted in the East End Temple sanctuary and library, as well as in nearby Stuyvesant Square.
A Holocaust Torah from the former nation of Czechoslovakia, on extended loan, is displayed in the library. Liturgical texts are inscribed in a wall made of stone from Jerusalem, and a bronze gate cast over handwritten prayers of the congregation encloses the ark. Ten hand-blown glass lights overhanging the sanctuary represent the minyan, the ten people required for a traditional Jewish service.