20130722-great synagogue of rome

Progressive Judaism originated in the mid 1920s when a number of liberal Jewish movements united under a single umbrella organisation, the World Union of Progressive Judaism. The strands of Judaism that affiliate themselves with the WUPJ embrace pluralism, modernity, equality and social justice as core values. Progressive Judaism observes modern worship practices, including prayer books in plain English; is dedicated to gender equality, including the ordination of female Rabbis; and is committed to social responsibility via interfaith and outreach programmes.

Despite this focus on modern values resonant with secular life, Australia in the 21st Century is a challenging place and time for Judaism. While many individuals in younger generations still identify themselves as progressive Jews, fewer than ever before attend regular prayer services or are members of a synagogue. Does the progressive Jewish movement need to transform itself to remain relevant and thrive in this new century?

This studio will undertake research into the progressive Jewish movement and the history of Temple Beth Israel, Melbourne’s oldest and largest progressive Jewish synagogue. It will examine new possibilities for the organisation and attempt to balance the values of its history with its transformative aspirations.

Students will design a new synagogue on the site of the existing TBI, a building typology that has always incorporated programme beyond prayer spaces, including classrooms, accommodation and morgues. In addition to addressing the requirements of a core design brief, students will be encouraged to expand the synagogue programme into new, uncharted territory.

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