Tuesday, August 26, 2008

On Three Pillars

video
combined audio excerpt and images from nextbook and jewcy
book available from amazon
Brooklyn, New York, is a central location on the map of Jewish American migration. At its height, in the 1950s, the borough’s Jewish population numbered more than a million. Today, many thousands still make their home there, as evidenced by the vast number of synagogues thriving in neighborhoods as diverse as Park Slope (mostly reform and conservative) and Borough Park (mostly Hasidic and ultra-Orthodox). But Jews have long since abandoned other neighborhoods, leaving their synagogues to fend for themselves. Some have been converted into churches or commercial spaces, others simply leveled.
Photographer Thomas Roma has spent years photographing Brooklyn’s houses of worship—of every denomination. But he found himself particularly drawn to synagogues for the stories the buildings seemed to tell about their neighborhood’s and congregation’s past, present, and future. He’s now collected his beautiful, large-scale, black-and-white photographs of these places in a book titled On Three Pillars: Torah, Worship, and the Practice of Loving Kindness.

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