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Beth Ahabah Happenings


Beth Ahabah restoration to be featured in webinar

In November of 2020, the executive director of The Branch Museum of Architecture and Design was perusing the newsletter of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and read an article on the restoration recently completed at Congregation Beth Ahabah.

Delighted to find an architectural treasure heretofore unknown to her just down the street, she contacted Beth Ahabah to propose featuring the building in a webinar series featuring historic renovations produced by museum.

After a year of research and assembling a team of speakers from clergy, archivist, architects and artisans, the plan evolved from one webinar featuring the historic renovation of the sanctuary into a three-part series of much bigger scope.

October 12, 19, 26

The Genesis of Two Magnificent Structures will air on three consecutive Tuesdays in October: the 12th, 19th, and 26th at 5:30 p.m. The first session titled “Origins” will explore how religious freedom led to a thriving Jewish congregation in Richmond, Virginia. Speakers will discuss the rise of “Americanized Judaism” between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and its relationship to neoclassical architecture.

Speakers will also cover the history of Reform Judaism and Beth Ahabah’s architectural relationship to St. James’s Episcopal Church, both built by the historic architectural firm, Baskervill, whose archives have been researched for this project.

Finally, the webinar will explore the consolidation of Jewish life and the architecture that materializes the words of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom Act, written in 1786.

Second Session: Oct. 19

The Second session, “Evolution of the Sanctuary and the Proscenium Arch,” will explore the architectural details of the sanctuary over time. Speakers will address the sanctuary’s magnificent stained glass windows, proscenium arch, dome ceiling, and dome over arches architecture to highlight restoration over 150 years.

In addition, a speaker from the local firm H. J. Holtz & Son will discuss their recent restoration of the proscenium arch.

Session 3: “The Modern Weds the Historic at Beth Ahabah” will focus on the process of developing the concept and design of Beth Ahabah new unified campus: from pre-design to construction.

This session will underscore the preservation of distinctive historical character and its integration with a bold modern building in a historic neighborhood.

Architect to Discuss

Shinberg.Levinas Architect will be on hand to discuss the new structure, which conferred the 2019 Golden Hammer Award in the Best Placemaking Category by Historic Richmond.

Free registration for the webinars will be soon be available through the Branch Museum of Architecture and Design at:  https://branchmuseum.org/

For more on Beth Ahabah, visit https://www.bethahabah.org/

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