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Building Bust

The unbuilt synagogues of the Great Depression

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Yet the best snapshot of the lost dreams of the 1920s may be the magnificent unbuilt sanctuary of Brooklyn’s Union Temple. It was to have been a classical temple, relying for grandeur on the sheer scale of its columned entrance and vaulted sanctuary. The eight-story Hebrew School wing was finished before the crash, and the congregation settled for renovating the auditorium into a worship space.

When the economy crashes, we adjust.

Left: exterior of the plan for Brooklyn's Union Temple, and eight-story Hebrew School. Right: planned interior of Union Temple's unbuilt classical sanctuary.

Left: exterior of the plan for Brooklyn’s Union Temple, and eight-story Hebrew School. Right: planned interior of Union Temple’s unbuilt classical sanctuary.

CREDIT: Union Temple

Diana Muir Appelbaum, who has written for a number of Jewish publications, is working on a book about nationalism.

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Building Bust

The unbuilt synagogues of the Great Depression

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