Temple Adath B’nai Israel
Evansville, IN 47715
Built in 2003 - www.templeabi.org
Article by Kelsey Spurlock
The Jewish religion is one of the world’s oldest and yet, the Jewish congregation of the Temple Adath B’nai Israel worships in a post-modern atmosphere.
The exterior of the building consists of geometric shapes: a cube sheltering the sanctuary, a cylinder containing the library and a rectangle housing the general and meeting rooms.
The interior of the Temple is laid out like a Basilica. The Sanctuary of the Temple Adath B’nai Israel is utterly breathtaking. It is by far the most impacting part of the Temple. When first walking in the double doors you enter the rear of the Sanctuary, which leads in a straight path to the elevated altar. Behind the altar is a hidden housing for eight of the nine Torah scrolls in the Temple. This housing is referred to as an “ark.” Directly above the altar are two long, narrow windows featuring the Ten Statements, similar to the Ten Commandments. There are also twenty-four half-moon shaped windows around the upper perimeter of the sanctuary and many other windows integrated in throughout. The intention for so many windows is to be able to see God’s creation surrounding them because they are emphasizing God’s creation in worship.
The Temple Adath B’nai Israel has two beautiful installations of stained glass. One of these is a round window featured on the cube-like structure, which depicts the menorah. Also, in the left center of the atrium lies a towering collaboration of 4 stained glass windows that take the shape of a vertical rhombus and are illuminated by light from behind. These four windows actually came from the previous Jewish temple in Evansville.
When heading down the West hallway, the most prominent room that you come to is the library, which is the first on the left and features many individual pieces of art ranging from paintings to a hand-embroidered tapestry of the twelve sons of Jacob to hand carved wood tablets depicting the Jewish holidays. The library also features another ark in the form of a wall-mounted cabinet. This ark houses the last of the nine Torah scrolls in the Temple Adath B’nai Israel. Carved into the exterior of this housing are the Ten Statements. Continuing down the hallway there are various dedicatory pieces, individual works of art, and other typical room additions, including the kitchen and restrooms.