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Temple Emanuel Sinai

Worcester, MA

Two Reform congregations in Worcester, Massachusetts agreed to merge, sell the larger, older synagogue building and renovate the smaller, newer building as their new home. The existing building, a modest, austere modernist structure built in 1980 is located on a beautiful wooded site. The newly integrated congregation asked BH+L to conduct a planning study that explored options for expanding the existing building to accommodate their new needs, to determine how those plans might be phased, and to explore how the existing sanctuary could be renovated to provide an updated, warmer welcoming space that both congregations would feel they had created together.


In the completed renovation, the original Ark from Temple Emanuel was salvaged and reused in the new Beit Midrash, and the Ark doors from Temple Sinai has become part of a lobby display featuring historic scrolls from Emanuel. A new Ark was designed for the renovated sanctuary along with the other bema fixtures.

The new addition across the front featuring a glassy, light-filled lobby, gave the building an inviting, welcoming new image, and fulfilled the congregation's request that their building express the transition from "the secular to the sacred".

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