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congregation beth israel, north adams, ma

Congregation Beth Israel sits in a quiet bowl at the foot of Mt. Greylock in the Berkshires. This new 6,000-GSF synagogue meets tight budgetary parameters, fulfills the congregation's religious, educational, and social needs, and responds harmoniously to its surrounding contexts. The design hinges on moveable partitions that increase the flexibility of the available space. These low-maintenance, retractable walls can be easily folded to merge the library, social hall, and small sanctuary into a single large social hall or sanctuary capable of accommodating 150 tables at banquets, or 230 people for High Holiday services. A wall of glass lines the sanctuary and opens to a tranquil mountain vista, reinforcing the connection between the building and its site. Only the Ark, which serves as both the spiritual and structural center of the building, interrupts this glass expanse to support the roof and form the focal point of the sanctuary.