'Hasdey Yosef' Synagogue & Yeshiva, Netivot, Israel 2012-Ongoing
Project Architect, Meir Krispin Under-Construction
Synagogue & Yeshiva Kollel, Hasdey Yosef, Netivot
Netivot is a growing development city, situated approximately half-way between Ashkelon and Be’er Sheva in Israel’s south. During the last decade the population of Netivot has grown enormously, due to natural growth as well as massive absorption of new immigrants. This population is made up of both secular and religious groups, including a large orthodox community.
Due to its expanding population Netivot has many new areas, including the neighbourhood of Kiryat Menachem. The Religious Orthodox community of this new and growing area are in need of a synagogue and community centre to service their spiritual, religious and community needs, including services for youth.
Program overview :
The proposed new Synagogue and Yeshiva Kollel is located in the heart of Kiryat Menachem, within a complex of other educational and public buildings. The design of the new building consists of five functions which relate to the main services needed by the community:
1. Large Synagogue
2. Yeshiva Kollel, with 4 study rooms
3. Mikve for men
4. Multi-purpose halls for religious functions
5. Guest rooms for long-term religious functions
Design of the Building:
The main concept in the design of the building is to create a large synagogue which forms a structural anchor leaning on a long service wing which has many community and religious functions. The main entrance to the synagogue is from the service wing, and both the anchor and the wing are supported by the ambulatory system of the building. The entrance to the main synagogue is within the service wing and is designed in the form of a gate in a fortified stone wall, lit by natural light and with suspended bridges that connect it to all of the floors.
The main entrance to the Kollel is located at the beginning of the service wing, followed by the study rooms. At the other end is the Mikve for men. In the middle of the wing is located the fortified gate of the synagogue, as well as the vertical movement systems of the building, including staircases and a Shabbat elevator. An additional two study rooms, each with their own small Holy Ark, are located on either side of the fortified gate of the main synagogue. These rooms have movable partition walls which can be opened for large religious events and religious festivals, converting these rooms to additional spaces which are inseparable parts of the main synagogue.
The main synagogue is designed as a visual anchor in the form of a square. It has an entrance gate in fortified stone and a polished concrete niche for the Holy Ark which faces the entrance gate in the direction of Jerusalem. The niche of the Holy Ark services the community of worshippers both within and outside of the synagogue, to be used for religious events which take place under the open sky. In front of the gate and the Holy Ark, in the development area of the site is planned an open auditorium, cast in concrete and clad in stone, with a large assembly area. The floor area of the main synagogue totals 300 Sq m and contains 370 seats. In addition, each of the side Kollels can seat 41 people, providing a total of 492 seats in the extended space.
The design of the Holy Ark, when viewed both from inside and outside of the synagogue, utilizes the shape of the cube. The cube is one of the most important symbols in Jewish Kabbalistic (mystical) thought. The “Sefer Hayetzira” (Book of Creation), an ancient Kabbalistic text, states that the world is built like a cube: The six faces of the cube represent six aspects of man’s experience of life; the three axes define three fundamental categories of being (existence, life and their union); and these aspects surround a single zero point in the centre. The Kabbalistic diagram of the “Tree of Life” is also a 2-dimensional representation of a 3-dimensional cube (see diagrams below). Furthermore the cube is the basis of the Magen David symbol.
The Bimah is designed to accomodate seven Chazzanim with a stand for the Sefer Torah and two Kruvim ("angels of the Holy Ark"), one on each side. On the side which faces the passageway there is a decorative wood carving depicting the dreams of Joseph, which were considered in the eyes of his brothers as a desire to rule them, but which were later on revealed as an allusion to the great acts of benevolence which Joseph did for his family. This carving represents the main activities of the Hasdey Yosef foundation.
On the first floor of the anchor space of the synagogue there is a womens gallery, which can be entered by two external staircases and which has its own toilets. The womens gallery is connected to the main elevator shaft and the internal staircase through the fortified gate and by two suspended bridges. The first floor plans also include 16 regular guest rooms and one VIP guest room, to be used during religious events and festivals.
In the basement level, which is built under the service wing, there are two multi-purpose halls to be used for religious functions, both of which have their own emergency exits. The foyer between the two halls is the space surrounding the gate of fortified stone of the synagogue, which extends upwards from the basement level. The space around the stone wall is open to the sky, with a glass pyramid ceiling which allows natural light to enter all the way down to the basement foyer. The stone wall is connected to the all of the entrances to the synagogue by the suspended bridges.