Sunday, February 22, 2015

Anshe Emet Synagogue, Chicago
 by: chicago designslinger

 [Anshe Emet Synagogue, Chicago (1910) Alfred S. Alschuler, architect /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

1926 was a big year for Congregation Anshe Emes. Organized by a small group of men in the parlor of Louis Sax's near north side Chicago home in 1873, 53 years later the 1,000+ members of Anshe Emes were able to raise $325,000 in cash and purchase a 1,300-seat house of worship on North Pine Grove Avenue.

  [Anshe Emet Synagogue, Chicago, Anshe Emes Synagogue, 627 W. Patterson Avenue, Chicago /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

This was not the Conservative Jewish congregation's first move. That occurred in 1876 when the original members were able to raise enough funds to rent Phoenix Hall on Division Street for weekly services. By 1893, things were going well enough that the group was able to build their own synagogue around the corner on Sedgwick Street, but one more move had to happen before settling into their Pine Grove sanctuary. By 1914 the folks who worshipped at Anshe Emes were moving up and away from the old neighborhood and relocating further north. So that same year, the congregation purchased an empty lot on Gary Place (now Patterson) near Addison just off today's Broadway. The new building was not much larger than the Sedgwick property, but it did include a social hall and enough space for classrooms.

  [Anshe Emet Synagogue, Chicago, 3760 N. Pine Grove Avenue, Chicago /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

Anshe Emes was not the first Jewish congregation to locate in the neighborhood. In 1910 architect Alfred Alschuler designed a large sanctuary and meeting hall building for the Reform congregation Temple Sholom, which was just around the corner and up the block from Anshe Emes. When Temple Sholom decided to move a few blocks over to Lake Shore Drive and build a new house of worship in the mid-1920s, the members of Anshe Emes decided to buy the soon-to-be-vacated building and move around the corner. It was in 1929, when Rabbi Solomon Goldman was formally installed as the spiritual leader of the synagogue that the "s" in emes was replaced by a "t", and Anshe Emes became Anshe Emet. In Hebrew, the word for truth is emet (אֱמֶת).

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