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Historic Shaare Shomaim Synagogue (Gates of Heaven Synagogue)

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1863, August Kutzbock. E. Gorham St. at Butler St., James Madison Park
  • (Photograph by Skot Weidemann, courtesy of the Wisconsin Historical Society)

This small, one-room synagogue was the first built in Wisconsin. It originally stood on W. Washington Avenue, but the city moved it in 1971 to save it from demolition. Its Romanesque Revival design found favor with those Jewish congregations who sought to assimilate within the larger culture. (The Moorish style was also popular for American synagogues but conveyed a Middle Eastern flavor). In this synagogue, arched windows and arches along the crenellated roofline and the entrance gable unify the design, and rose windows grace both gables. The brick building’s sandstone facade is now eroding because of sandblasting. The building, one of the older remaining synagogues in the United States, is now used for concerts and special events.

Writing Credits

Marsha Weisiger et al.


What's Nearby


Marsha Weisiger et al., "Historic Shaare Shomaim Synagogue (Gates of Heaven Synagogue)", [Madison, Wisconsin], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Wisconsin

Buildings of Wisconsin, Marsha Weisiger and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2017, 447-447.

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