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Young Israel of Brookline

Young Israel of Brookline, founded in 1953, is “one of the largest Orthodox congregations in New England” and is self-described as, “an anchor of Jewish life in Boston.” The congregation was originally gathered in a small house, but shortly after moved to a larger space to accommodate their growing community. In 1994, an electrical fire destroyed their building and they were forced to construct a new Synagogue. In November 1996, Young Israel dedicated their new shul, which seats 525 congregants. Young Israel prides itself on bringing together people from different “cultural, economic, and professional” fields.

Young Israel has two women’s sections. One section is located in the balcony. The other is located on the ground floor and is surrounded by an ornate mechitza constructed from Hebrew lettering. This synagogue was designed by Graham Gund, president of the “Gund Partnership,” a prominent architecture firm located in Cambridge. According to a Boston Globe article written in 1997, Gund wanted to bring “Jerusalem light” into the space. There are “tiny prisms” set into the glass which “project little rainbows into the sanctuary.” The article also expresses that the architecture of Young Israel expresses a “strong sense of community.”