B'nai Jeshurun (of old)
As I said last Saturday I might,* this weekend I devote both Saturday and Sunday to pix of the former B'nai Jeshurun synagog and present Hopewell Baptist Church, which I saw, outside and in, on Jeffrey Bennett's walking tour a week ago today. Saturday is the Jewish Sabbath; Sunday, the Christian Sabbath, so both are appropriate days to spotlite this magnificent building.
Today we'll focus on the exterior, which, except for a black-and-white sign on the front, suggests that the building is a synagog in that the most prominent feature other than its magnificent, shallow dome (in the ancient-Roman style), is the Ten Commandments tablet that stands above its entryway. Here's a picture of that part of the building as you might see it in passing by on Clinton Avenue, past a little strip mall. Did the architect of the strip mall intend to reflect the architecture beyond? I don't know. If not, the conformance between the rooflines is a happy accident. If so, the match of roof angles could have been closer.
Here you see the church from the far side of MLK Blvd. A tree frames the view on the left, as trees play so big a part in most views of Newark. Very often, you actually have to frame your foto carefully in order not to include a tree! We are a green city — not a black city, not a white city. Newark is Green City. Green Newark didn't spring up overnite. Our great trees took decades to develop, but they are here now, and stand strong for the future, as do human Newarkers.
Temple B'nai Jeshurun left Newark for South Orange decades ago, in the Bad Old Days of white flite. It later left even South Orange for Short Hills (still in Essex County) in 1968. It had been part of Newark's cultural and religious landscape for over a century. But history doesn't mean much to some people.
Note what the inscription says. Apparently the people of congregation B'nai Jeshurun did not believe what their own (wise, but disrespected) ancestors inscribed, because they did not rally the strength to pass thru the bad times to emerge into the good times today.
I suppose the congregation left South Orange for reasons other than race, since South Orange is a lot whiter than Newark. But it is 'darker' than Short Hills.
Here's a closer view of the rooftop with the Ten Commandments tablets. Excuse the moiré pattern. Can't be helped. Cameras see what cameras see. People rarely or never see a moiré pattern, but cameras often do.
Here's a detail of the upper façade pierced by ornate windows.
And here's a detail view of the lower façade's portal doorways.
These exterior views are nice, granted. But you ain't seen nothin' yet. Come back tomorrow to see the interior.
* I just checked what I said last week, to see if I promised to do this or only indicated I might. As I reviewed that day's entry, and others below it, I realized that this fotoblog is now my favorite site on the Internet. If you like it too and have not yet bookmarked it, why not add it to your bookmarks or "Favorite Places" now, and tell others about it?