By Ruth Ellen Gruber
Mazel tov to Dr. Sharman Kadish on the publication this month of her new book, The Synagogues of Britain and Ireland (Yale University Press). The 412-page book is the most detailed treatment of British synagogue to be published, and it is lavishly illustrated with previously unpublished images and specially taken photographs. It traces the architecture of the synagogue in Britain and Ireland from its discreet Georgian- and Regency-era beginnings to the golden age of the grand "cathedral synagogues" of the High Victorian period.
The religious buildings of the Jewish community in Britain have never been explored in print. Sharman Kadish sheds light on obscure and sometimes underappreciated architects who designed synagogues for all types of worshipers--from Orthodox and Reform congregations to Yiddish-speaking immigrants in the 1900s. She examines the relationship between architectural style and minority identity in British society and looks at design issues in the contemporary synagogue.Sharman Kadish is the Director of Jewish Heritage UK and a research fellow and lecturer at the Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Manchester. Her numerous publications include the companion guidebooks Jewish Heritage in England and Jewish Heritage in Gibraltar.