Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Brisbane Synagogue

The Brisbane Synagogue at 98 Margaret Street was built in 1885 for the Brisbane Hebrew Congregation. It was Brisbane's first purpose built Synagogue, and is significant as an important development in nineteenth century Jewish worship in the city. It is in an unusual Byzantine style, and is constructed of stuccoed brickwork on a concrete foundation.

The synagogue has a long history within the Brisbane community. The Jewish families who settled in Queensland from the time of separation from New South Wales in 1859, formed the nucleus of the Brisbane Hebrew Congregation founded in Brisbane in 1865. They used temporary premises until the consecration of this synagogue in 1886. Renovations took place in 1965 to celebrate the centenary of the formation of the Brisbane Hebrew Congregation. Many people who had lost family members during the Holocaust donated additional stained glass windows. At this time the congregation's spiritual name "Kehilla Kedosha Sha'ari Emuna", the Holy Congregation of the Gates of Faith was added over the arched entry.

I love how these places of worship for the various faiths are dotted around the city. In this instance, it is again nestled between two highrise buildings. Of course, I haven't been inside this synagogue, although from the descriptions of the ornamental stained glass windows inside, I should try to get in one day. There remains a strong Jewish presence in Brisbane, although I lay little claim to fully understanding nor following their faith. I do, however, appreciate the architecture of their synagogue!

Cheers, I Love Brisbane, Wes.

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Jodi said...

Beautiful. It's very interesting how it looks to be in the business district. It looks like the city grew around the Synagogue.

Anonymous said...

I have been inside this synagogue on a study of religion excursion. inside they have a centre platform where all their prayers are performed and the sermons/lectures are performed at the front platform. they have 2 levels of seating, feamles on the top level, males on the bottom level. many of their furnishings are made from wood. every stained glass window tells a different chapter of jewish history. it is really beautiful and extremely detailed.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your post. My great grandparents were maried in this Synagogue in 1915. The moved back to Russia where they were originally from in 1918. But it is so great to know, the Synagogue is still there, one day we will visit.

Jenny said...

I guess when they built in in the 1880s it wasn't so much the CBD as it was the middle of a relatively-small mixed commercial and residential space, all the congregants would have lived close enough to walk! Shows you how times have changed!