(July 27, 2022 / JNS) The Cymbalista Synagogue and Jewish Heritage Center sitting at the heart of Tel Aviv University’s campus has been designated a protected historic site by the Council for the Conservation of Heritage Sites in Israel, one of Israel’s top conservation authorities.
Completed in 1998, the building is currently the “youngest” in the country to hold this status.
The designation signifies the building’s singular qualities—both in its architectural and social aspects—and ensures the physical preservation of the synagogue as a building of historic significance.
An impressive structure with its broad square base rising into two spiraling towers, emblematic of a Torah scroll, the Cymbalista Synagogue and Jewish Heritage Center is a landmark work of architecture on campus and in Israel. It functions as a synagogue.
The center also serves as an academic and cultural meeting ground and includes a study room and library. Its facilities include an auditorium and museum. Members of the public can use the synagogue as a venue for weddings and bar mitzvahs.
Swiss real estate developer, philanthropist and university honorary doctor Norbert Cymbalista and his wife, Paulette, commissioned the building. It was devised to house a synagogue and bridge the gaps between religious and secular segments of Israeli society—and between the different denominations of Judaism: Orthodox, Conservative and Reform—in an academic environment.
Renowned Swiss architect Mario Botta designed the building. It contains materials and furnishings from around the world, including the Torah ark made of Pakistani onyx stone, golden-hued stone interior walls from Tuscany, black granite flooring from Zimbabwe, brick-red exterior stone from the Italian Dolomites and a light wood ceiling from Switzerland.
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