Groundbreaking National/International Up Front

Combined Synagogue Breaks Ground

Amerst, NY – Finegold Alexander Architects recently announced the groundbreaking of a 300-seat sanctuary that will represent the merger of two conservative congregations, Congregation B’nai Shalom (CBS) and Temple Beth Tzedek (TBT) in Amherst, New York. The sanctuary building will include community, administrative, and support spaces.

The new 10,000sf building will be constructed at the current site of CBS and will link to existing spaces. The new congregation has already combined and is known as Temple Beth Tzedek.

“The rabbi(s) and the congregation originally asked for a sanctuary in the woods, since the site is heavily wooded to the east,” said Rebecca Berry, AIA, LEED AP, president and sustainability director, Finegold Alexander Architects. “Unfortunately, wetlands, tree conservation, and site restraints suggested otherwise.”

“The solution was inspired by the metaphorical connection to the wooden synagogues of Poland and the wish to be close to the woods. The design conceived an all ‘old wood’ structure, the sanctuary having a dramatic exposure to the east and the wooded site,” Berry said.

“Twelve glass panels from the original TBT synagogue will be relocated to this east wall above the ark, an interpretation of the polychromatic interiors of the synagogues’ historic antecedent,” added Berry, noting that a connection to TBT’s former space was important. “The glass-paneled wall truly bring the congregation into the woods.”


“We are thrilled to have the privilege of combining these two wonderful congregations into one, and building a sanctuary that will inspire the congregation for many generations,” said Moe Finegold, FAIA, Senior Principal in his groundbreaking reamarks.

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