'OR'-Ethiopian Spiritual Centre, Netivot, Israel 2004
Project Architect, Meir Krispin Unbuilt
There was no proper place of praying for the Ethiopian community in Netivot. The current building that is being used as a synagogue is not suitable for the needs of the community and cannot contain the number of prayers. Therefore it has been decided to establish a new synagogue for the use of the Ethiopian community.
The site of the new Synagogue is located next to the spiritual and social center of the community, also nearby the new municipal center of Netivot that is being constructed; which will contain the new city hall and other public services. The new synagogue with the existing spiritual center will function as a center for the community and as a part of the new municipal center. The project was planned to suit the needs of the community, and was taken through with the representatives of the community.
This building has two floors. A ramp following the natural landscape of the site ends at the upper entrance platform that leads into the main hall. Two staircases on each side of the building connect the lower floor to the platform and to the women's section. These staircases are architectural elements by themselves. On the lower floor there are two wings. The north western one contains a festival hall for the events of the members of the community. The south eastern wing contains the chamber of the – "Keas" and a library.
In the middle of the two wings there is a roofed lobby to be used as a place of gathering and an open auditorium.
The upper level contains the praying main hall and the women's section. The synagogue arrangement is circumferential as the model of the Sephardic synagogue in which the seats are located around the "Bamah". The "Bamah" is a vertical element that continuing to the lower level; there, it turns into a stage for the open auditorium.
The main hall is an elevated space with a sky-light in the middle of its ceiling. The hall contains over 200 seats.The women's section and the Holy Ark are projected beyond the enclosure and are located on either side of the longitudinal axis, the same axis of the auditorium bellow. They are elevated above the level of the main praying hall, but are not separate and are all one continues space. The approach to the women's section is via the staircases.
The entrance platform on one side of the building, is above the "keas" chamber. On the other side, above the festival hall there is an open terrace to be used as an outdoor ceremonial platform. The approach to it is from the main hall, and from the western staircase connecting the lower floor to the women's section.