ABSTRACT

Cultural exchanges between various Jewish groups as well as Jews and nonJews, a ected synagogue design during the early modern period in ways beyond architectural style. As mentioned previously, synagogue architecture typically re ected either the style(s) popular for a particular locality in a particular period – whether that was Classical, Gothic or Islamic, and so forth – or a vernacular rendering of a style, which was usually the case. Jews have never had an architectural style of their own; instead they have borrowed stylistically from non-Jews, though Jews do at times modify styles to meet their tastes and religious constraints. For example, in order to avoid iconographic ornament, considered a Second Commandment violation by Jews, styles such as Renaissance and Baroque were adjusted on various occasions for synagogues. With some minor exceptions, such as Judah Goldschmied in Prague, non-Jews were the builders and architects of synagogues. All of these factors had an impact on synagogue architectural appearance and layout. In Early Modern Jewry, Ruderman discussed the concept of ‘mingled identities’ and the ‘blurring of religious identities’ from the interactions taking place between various Jewish groups and Jews with non-Jews.1 His analysis focused on several cultural exchanges that took place and some of these interactions were re ected in synagogue design.