B’Nai Israel Synagogue
The B’nai Israel facility includes a sanctuary with a permanent capacity of 480 seats including the balcony seating. The expanded High Holy Day capacity reaches 2,000. This capacity is attained by the use of flex space via movable walls to convert the Social Hall and Kiddush area into sanctuary. The facility also includes administrative offices and a religious school. The Congregation sits on a 6 acre site in Boca Raton referred to as “Church Row” because of the many faiths that worship side by side.
The central courtyard is for congregating before and after the services and boasts a 50’ diameter mural by Amram Ebgi entitled “Sabbath of Rest Sabbath of Joy”. This is the centerpiece of the courtyard and is a representation of the Jewish calendar year in mosaic tile and colored concrete. The school has a courtyard, as well, which is primarily used for kids’ play activities. The main entry to the facility is at the semicircular passenger drop off which is on axis with the front doors of the Sanctuary.
The interior is contemporary in design with a sloping floor to enhance site lines. The ceiling is a slatted wood ceiling with theatrical lighting, acoustical treatments including speakers and all other HVAC requirements happening above the ceiling plane. There are 12 small windows near the top of the ellipse with a large stain glass rose window facing the front courtyard. A small skylight is placed above the central Bima and emits a shaft of light which dramatically illuminates the central space. The Judaica is powerful, well crafted and intentionally understated. The Ark and Eternal Light occur in the east wall and create a visual focus for the room but they do not dominate the otherwise serene composition.