When we think today of iconic religious architecture, the first images that spring to mind are often churches, mosques, and Buddhist monasteries. But some of the most spectacular houses of worship in the world are those of the Jewish faith—synagogues. That’s why the latest selection for Just Booked, our series on exciting new travel coffee table books, is Rizzoli’s Synagogues: Marvels of Judaism by Leyla Uluhanli.
The book is one that demands attention from the outset with the electric blue stained glass window of the Eldridge Street Synagogue in New York on its cover. Inside, the book dives into the evolution of synagogue design from continent to continent, featuring more than 60 synagogues worldwide. Some are over the top, like the Great Synagogue in Budapest with its elaborate stencil-work ceilings, while others, like the Paradesi Synagogue in south India, are simpler but no less remarkable.
What is particularly amazing as you page through the book is how they all seem to simultaneously reflect their surroundings and era, but still retain a clear Jewish identity. Don’t miss the Ibn Shoshan Synagogue in Toledo with its whitewashed walls and intricately carved capitals, or Frank Lloyd Wright’s Beth Sholom in Pennsylvania, two great examples of this.