CHESTER – How did the Holocaust shape the works of modern architects? Historian Gavriel Rosenfeld, author of Building After Auschwitz, answers that question and more at a free Books & Bagels program open to the public at 9:30 a.m., Sunday, May 1, at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek in Chester – a building that’s featured in his book.
Since the end of World War II, Jewish architects have risen to unprecedented international prominence. Peter Eisenman, Frank Gehry, Louis I. Kahn, Daniel Libeskind, Richard Meier, Moshe Safdie, Robert A.M. Stern and Stanley Tigerman have made pivotal contributions. They have also decisively shaped Jewish architectural history, as many of their designs are influenced by Jewish themes, ideas and imagery. Building After Auschwitz is the first major study to examine the origins of this “new Jewish architecture.”
Speaking on behalf of CBSRZ, Tracy Kleinberg, says, “I’ve known Gavriel a long time and when I became program chair two years ago, I knew I wanted to have him come speak about his book. I thought about the fact that our building, designed by Sol LeWitt, is a prominent piece of modern Jewish architecture and the topic would be of interest to our congregation. The cool part is that our building is discussed on page 320.”
Rosenfeld, a professor at Fairfield University, describes this cultural development as the result of important shifts in Jewish memory and identity since the Holocaust, and cites the rise of postmodernism, multiculturalism and Holocaust consciousness as a catalyst. In showing how Jewish architects responded to the Nazi genocide in their work, Rosenfeld’s study sheds new light on the evolution of Holocaust memory.
Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is located at 55 East Kings Highway in Chester. As always for the Books & Bagels programs, there is no charge for the event and it is open to the public. No reservations are necessary. For more information, visit cbsrz.org or call the CBSRZ office 860-526-8920.