In 1969 the amazing Sophie & Nathan Gumenick Chapel was dedicated.
The Gumenick chapel is completely different – experimental where the sanctuary is classic, and intimate rather than grand. (Imagine a large, luminous igloo suffused with rays of sunlight and eye-popping color, and you begin to get the idea.) Architect Kenneth Treister – who also designed the Miami Beach Holocaust Memorial and Mayfair in the Grove – grounded his conception in Torah, particularly God’s commandment in Genesis, “Let there be light. ”
Its architecture was the theme of a lavishly illustrated book, Chapel of Light: Jewish Ceremonial Art in the Sophie & Nathan Gumenick Chapel. Copies are available at the Temple. The chapel was also the subject of a full-length article in House and Garden magazine, which described the chapel as an emblem of the revitalization of the neighborhood and also of Judaism itself. “Reform Judaism is, as much as anything, a search for truths rather than a recitation of them, “wrote author Beth Dunlop. ” The architecture of this chapel is intended to echo that quest. ” The Gumenick Chapel has been featured in Wallpaper’s guide to Miami’s Urban Renaissance and is included in their book on Miami, their web site, and their app. The chapel was selected by the National Museum of American Jewish History, Independence Mall, Philadelphia, as part of its core exhibition.
In 2012 the chapel was named the 15th most notable building in Florida, according to a survey conducted by the American Institute of Architects, Florida Chapter.
Mr. Treister has written a fascinating essay on his process of designing the Gumenick Chapel.
You can see more information and photos of our Gumenick Chapel at Synagogue 360.