Congregation Beth Israel, Bangor, Maine

Officially organized in 1888, Congregation Beth Israel is the oldest continually functioning synagogue in the state of Maine. After the first synagogue was tragically destroyed in a fire that swept through Bangor in 1911, Congregation Beth Israel constructed its current house of prayer using steel and reinforced concrete. Dedicated in 1912, the building designed with a Byzantine Romanesque architectural influence reflects the ambiance of Asia Minor, the area the congregation felt was the origins of Judaism. However, physical alterations to the sanctuary metaphorically reflect the congregations’ continued wishes to merge traditional Jewish practice with modern ideas in ways designed to enrich traditional observance.