THE NEW SYNAGOGUE OF FORT LEE/ Ken Hansen

THE NEW SYNAGOGUE OF FORT LEE (Fort Lee, NJ)

The New Synagogue of Fort Lee was constructed but ten years ago in 2001 asan establishment through which to better organize educational and socialservices for the Jewish community. Rather than serving an overwhelminglyreligious function as the older synagogues in my town, I found the NewSynagogue to be surprisingly figurative in nature. The building, ofsimple, modest (if not almost postmodern) architecture embraces functionover form. Rooms in the synagogue have been dedicated to weekly classesand even a Holocaust museum.

The synagogue’s construction was a collaborative effort driven by thewishes and donations of schools, Christian churches and other synagogues alike.

Its transformation from a weekly Hebrew class at a senior citizens centerinto a full-fledged establishment that has garnered the public interest ofJews and non-Jews alike, has made it symbolic as an embodiment of Americansuburbia and community values, not just for the Jewish community, but forFort Lee at large.

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