Sacred Sites Open House Kick Off Celebration
-Temple Emanu-El by Georgina Castanon for New York Walk and Explore
March 21, 2017
The Conservancy kicked off the 7th Annual Sacred Sites Open House with a celebration at Temple Emanu-El. The Conservancy inaugurated this initiative as an opportunity for historic houses of worship to showcase their institution’s art, architecture, history, as well as the many social service and cultural programs they provide the greater community, and to convey to neighbors and visitors alike the importance of preserving historic sacred sites.
This year’s theme is Stained Glass: Windows on this World and the Next.
Tours of stained glass in the sanctuary were led by Arthur Femenella, Femenella & Associates, who headed their restoration. Peter A. Rohlf, Rohlf’s Stained and Leaded Glass Studio, lead a tour of Greenwald Hall, a chapel at Temple Emanu-El featuring handsome landscape windows, including two by the Tiffany Studios, which were relocated from a former funeral chapel at Temple Emanu-El’s Salem Fields Cemetery in Cypress Hills, Brooklyn. The new Dean of the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava, The Very Rev. Dr. Živojin Jakovljević , spoke movingly about the Cathedral’s participation in Sacred Sites Open House every year prior to the devastating fire of their building in 2016, the importance of art and architecture to the cultural life of communities, and the long road ahead as the congregation plans and fundraises for reconstruction. Temple Emanu-El administrator Mark Heutlinger wrapped up the evening with a brilliant sanctuary talk on the congregation’s history and its echoes in the sanctuary’s design, iconography, and Lucy Moses Award winning, $70 million restoration.
Temple Emanu-El was the first Reform Jewish congregation in New York City and, because of its size and prominence, has served as a flagship congregation in the Reform branch of Judaism since its founding in 1845.
Its landmark Romanesque Revival building on Fifth Avenue is widely admired as the largest, and one of the most beautiful synagogues in the world.
Temple Emanu-El was designed and built by the era’s leading craftspeople—specialists in the implementation of mosaics, marbles, tiles, stained glass, metalwork, and woodwork—who used the finest materials from around the world. The architectural firm of Kohn, Butler & Stein—headed by Robert D. Kohn, Charles Butler, and Clarence Stein—led the team that also included the firms of Goodhue Associates and Mayers, Murray & Phillip as consultants.
The Conservancy was pleased to bestow its highest preservation honor, a Lucy Moses Award, to Temple Emanu-El for its restoration project completed in 2006.
We are grateful to this year’s Sacred Sites Open House sponsors: Acheson Doyle Partners, Adirondack Architectural Heritage, AIA NY Historic Buildings Committee, Art Deco Society of New York, Corning Museum of Glass, East Village Community Coalition, EverGreene Architectural Arts, Explore Buffalo, Faith & Form, Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, Historic Albany Foundation, Historic Districts Council, Historic Ithaca, Hudson Mohawk Industrial Gateway, Landmark West!, Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy, Lower East Side Preservation Initiative, Landmark Society of Western New York, OTSEGO 2000, Preservation Association of Central New York, Preservation Association of the Southern Tier, Preservation Buffalo Niagara, and Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities.