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October 10, 2003 - Image 79

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-10-10

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

SUZANNE CHESSLER

Special to the Jewish News

Igi

ichigan synagogues,
though mentioned, did
not make the final pho-
tographic cut into a
new book written by architectural his-
torian Samuel Gruber, but the work
of a famous, once Michigan-based
architect did.
North Shore Congregation Israel in
Glencoe, Ill., designed by the late
Seattle-born Minoru Yamasaki, who
spent most of his career in the
Detroit area, even appears on the
cover of American Synagogues: A

Century of Architecture and Jewish
Community (Rizzoli International
Publications; $50).
"I toured a number of synagogues in
the Detroit area, and the two [Temple
Beth El buildings] by Albert Kahn are
the most dramatic," says Gruber, who
describes 36 houses of worship pho-
tographed by Paul Rocheleau.
Gruber talks about the Kahn build-
ings, both on Woodward Avenue in
Detroit, in the text. Both are very
important, he says, particularly the
first, which is now the Bonstelle
Theatre at Wayne State University.
"To me, it's the quintessential classical
temple synagogue in America," says
the author.
He intended to include one of the
many modern synagogues found in
the suburbs of Detroit, he says. But,
"in the end, because we found so
many other synagogues we didn't
know about, we chose to feature
Yamasaki's Glencoe synagogue instead
of his [Temple] Beth El, and we
included two other Percival Goodman
buildings instead of [Congregation]
Shaarey Zedek.
"I find the Yamasaki Beth El an
interesting building, but I think that
the Glencoe one is more expressive,"
says Gruber. "The Shaarey Zedek
synagogue is interesting because of its
size and layout, but it's late in
Goodman's career and more deriva-
tive than influential."
Instead, he chose two earlier
Goodman designs, one in Miami
and one in Providence, as "more
representative."
The synagogues shown in the
Gruber book, which is not meant to
be a comprehensive survey, range from
subtle to striking and showcase the
ingenuity of the country's best-known
architects from Frank Lloyd Wright to
Louis Goodman.

GEMS on page 80

Janice Charach
Epstein Gallery hosts
synagogue exhibits.

SUZANNE CHESSLER
Special to the Jewish News

A

n architectural photographer
based in Michigan offers
some perspective to the pic-
ture-filled new bOok,
American Synagogues: A Centug of
Architecture and Jewish Communi.
Laszlo Regos, who works out of a stu-
dio in Berkley, has photographed 10 of
the same synagogues shown in the book
and presents them as part of an exhibit,
"Palaces of Prayer," running Oct. 15-
Nov 26 at the Janice Charach Epstein
Gallery in the Jewish Community
Center in West Bloomfield.
In all, he'll be showing dramatic views
of more than 5p synagogues, both in
his native Hungary and across the
United States. Close to home, he cap-
tures buildings in Michigan used for
services either currently or in the past.
(Regos and his synagogue portraits were
the subject of a cover story in the
Detroit Jewish News on May 31, 2002.)
"Synagogues of India," a collection of
watercolor paintings showing 34 houses
of worship built between the 16th and
20th centuries, also will be on view and
will highlight the work of Jay Waronker,
an Atlanta architect who wrote a history
of each building.
"It's very exciting that we were able to
find two artists using different media
but working in the same direction to
documtnt synagogues," says Sylvia
Nelson, gallery director. "These are
wonderful variations on a theme that
reserves Jewish history"
Regos portraits provide a range that
from Frank Lloyd Wright's Beth
Synagogue in Elkins. Park,
., to Percival Goodman's
twegation Shaarey Zedek in
field. The exhitbit photographs
plify his work for two planned
k projects, one focusing on the sync-
of Hungary and the other on those
his adopted U.S. home.
He has been in discussions about a
possible collaboration with Samuel
Gruber, author of American Synagogues.
Regos, owner of Spectrum Photo,
started taking pictures of synagogues
after he saw the beautiful way in which
ohany Street Synagogue in

K

Phe*graherLaszlo Regos: Interior view
Central Synagogue.
of ew York

Laszlo Regos: The Shul-Chitb
Lubavitch in West Bloomfield.

Jay Waronker:
Watercolor
painting of
a synagogue
in India,'

Budapest was rebuilt after being left in
shambles from the time of the Nazis..
His next interest was New. York's
Central Synagogue, which he calls a
"sister" of the Budapest building.
"I decided then to document the
architecturally and historically signifi-
cant synagogues of this country, says
Regos, who came to the United States
from Hungary in 1979 and whose
Michigan pictorial projects include
Temple Beth El, Temple Shir Shalom,
Congregation B'nai Moshe and The
Shill, all in 'West Bloomfield.
Waronker first learned about the syn-
agogues in India as a student at Harvard
and later received several grants, includ-
ing a Fulbright, to showcase them
through paint. In the course of com-
pleting his paintings, he wrote an
account of the three distinct Jewish
communities in India.
"It's been so interesting to see historic
synagogues in both photo images and
paint," Nelson says. "Aside from their
artistry, the men do a great service in
providing insight into the ways Jewish
communities have held their services." 0

-

"Palaces of Prayer" and
"Synagogues of India" will be on
view Oct. 15-Nov. 26 at the
Janice Charach Epstein Gallery
in the Jewish Community Center
in West Bloomfield.
Special events supplement the
exhibit. There will be an open-
ing night reception with both
artists 6:30-9 p.m. Wednesday,
Oct. 15, and a slide presenta-
tion and lecture by Waronker at
7:30 p.m. the same night. An
evening of conversation with
Regos will be held 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Nov. 20.
Gallery hours are 11 a.m. 4
p.m. Sundays, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Mondays-Wednesdays and 10
a.m.-7 p.m. Thursdays. (248)
432-5448.

-

79

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