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The Boston Globe

Opinion

opinion | JOAN WICKERSHAM

Building a sanctuary

Temple Beth Elohim was created from — and for — community

How do we talk about architecture? Sometimes we talk about aesthetics; more often we talk about function and cost. But the most expansive dimension of architecture is what happens inside a building — what the building inspires, elicits, and makes possible. Let’s listen to what the architect and the users have to say about a beautiful new building outside of Boston.

After the members of Wellesley’s Temple Beth Elohim chose architect William Rawn to design their new building, Rawn and his associate on the project, Mark Scott, spent almost a year researching, listening, and learning about Judaism. Rawn traveled to Israel with a group from the temple to look at ancient and contemporary architecture. He talked with his clients about the values of their community: egalitarian, welcoming, modest, with an emphasis on nature, social justice, and active participation in the community.

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