Living Room Lectures: Michael Palmer
Sun August 22 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Living Room Lectures is a series of monthly presentations delivered to your living room through your device screen.
Eric Mendelsohn’s Synagogues in America
Author and photographer Michael Palmer will talk about his book: Eric Mendelsohn’s Synagogues in America about the German-Jewish architect who had planned to build seven synagogues in America, of which four were designed and built, all in the Midwest between 1946 and 1953. Michael Palmer has recorded in exquisite detail Mendelsohn’s four built synagogues in Saint Paul, Saint Louis, Cleveland, and Grand Rapids. These synagogues became benchmarks for modern American synagogue architecture. The aim of the book is to bring Mendelsohn’s lyrical architecture to the attention of contemporary Jewish communities and to discuss the roots of his Jewish identity, from which his synagogue architecture arose.
Mendelsohn’s first building was a Beit Tahara at the Jewish cemetery in Allenstein, East Prussia (now Olsztyn, Poland ), his hometown. His final building was Temple Emanuel in Grand Rapids, Michigan. At the end of the 1920s, Mendelsohn’s Berlin firm was the largest in Germany. During the 1930s, having left Germany for good, he built Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, Rambam Hospital in Haifa and the Weizmann House at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, Israel. He and his wife, Louise, entered the United States as refugees in 1941. His four American synagogues in their design and siting integrate his personal identity as a Jew with the post-War, post-Holocaust, Zionist identities of the American Jewish community in the late 1940s and early 1950s. We today find ourselves dealing with the same issues of identity and place.
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