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Congregation Shaarei Tefillah of Newton

Congregation Shaarei Tefillah of Newton, a Modern Orthodox Synagogue, was founded in 1983. The most recent renovation to their sanctuary finished in 2011 and all the furnishings were designed by Presentations Gallery. According to Shaarei Tefillah, “The idea of an inclusive journey guided the spiritual and artistic vision” for the new sanctuary. The congregation wanted their sanctuary to “inspire feelings of spiritual transcendence without forfeiting a sense of Divine indwelling and communal intimacy.”

Shaarei Tefillah honors halakhic tradition with separate entrances for men and women and separate sections for seating (with a mechitza as a ritual divider). While the congregation honors tradition, they also aim for their space to be “fully accessible” to all, including those that are physically challenged. The mechitza “creates a sense of fluid motion through alternating curved panels.” The way in which the panels are placed is meant to mimic the “subtle feeling of propulsion along the gentle currents of a flowing river.”