TBZ Places & Spaces
Our spiritual home at 805 Delaware Avenue in Buffalo houses our Sanctuary, Sisterhood Chapel, Benjamin and Dr. Edgar R. Cofeld Judaic Museum, Rabbi Joseph L. Fink Auditorium, Board room, meeting spaces and offices.
Our magnificent Sanctuary at the Delaware Building is used for religious observances, life-cycle ceremonies, concerts and guest speakers.
- In the early days, people prayed outdoors, often with their arms held up and hands open to the sky, going inside only to keep warm. Early Gothic churches achieved this effect by building to great heights so that the ceilings, as they blackened with age, nearly disappeared. Here, the upward thrust toward the roof, which seems to float above us, gives a similar sensation to the worshippers seated below. This floating effect is achieved by the peripheral skylight at the top of the angled walls.
- The encircling oval walls of the 1,000 seat Sanctuary, feature 10 scallops each and are symbolic of the Ten Commandments and rise skyward as a person's arms raised in prayer.
- The walls rise forty-five feet from the Delaware Avenue entrance, and increase to sixty-two feet in height above the bimah (altar); flaring outwards 15 degrees and firmly anchored to an underground concrete pedestal 50 feet below ground level. The ceiling is rimmed by tinted glass windows permitting sunlight to bathe the entire sanctuary during the day.
- The pillars at the Delaware entrance and in the vestibule which support the balcony above are so detailed that cabinet makers rather than journeymen carpenters were hired to build the forms into which the concrete was poured. Thus the concrete has the texture and appearance of wood strips forming the pillars.
- The exterior is formed over curved sheets of Alabama limestone over steel-reinforced concrete. The walls are over three feet thick at the base and eleven inches thick at the top.
- To create a feeling of antiquity, Architect Max Abromovitz had the walls bush-hammered to remove 1/4 inch of the surface giving an antique, mottled effect. The holes in the walls were left from the original forms and add to the Sanctuary's acoustic excellence, as well as design. They remind us that our world is unfinished and we are partners with God in creation.
- Renowned artist and calligrapher, Ben Shahn, designed the menorah, the two magnificent stained glass windows and the Ten Commandments tables which dominate the bimah. Shahn's theme was one of openness, hopefully inspiring all who enter the Temple to greater service to God and their fellow men.
- Each tablet is thirty feet high. The first Hebrew letter of each commandment is worked in mosaic, and measure 16 by 40 inches. The gold leaf lettering for the rest of the text appears below the first letter, which is surrounded by an auriole of intricately designed lettering in gold leaf. The playful animal-like shapes of the mosaic letters are often seen in Shahn's work.
- The two stained glass windows on the East and West sides extend to a height of forty feet. The east wall window behind the pulpit contains a massive upturned hand, symbolizing creation. The lines swirling about the hand represent the voice out of the whirlwind that spoke to a suffering Job (Job 38:4-7). The colors and designs in the stained glass give a focus for meditation. The west wall window, over the Delaware Avenue entrance, is Psalm 150, which calls upon us to praise God.
- The Shabbat Candelabra, a seven-branched Menorah, was also designed by Ben Shahn, and repeats the design around the mosaic lettering of the tablets. Constructed of Brass and rose glass, it uses wax candles and stands on the bimah like the Menorah in Solomon's Temple.
- The Holy Ark is the holiest part of a house of worship. This is where the Torahs, containing the Five Books of Moses, are kept. It recalls the Holy of Holies in the Ancient Temple at Jerusalem. The Ark in our Sanctuary, like the Ark in our Chapel, is covered with gold leaf and its design suggests the portability of the Ark of the Covenant carried in the desert after the Exodus.
- Above the Holy Ark hangs the Ner Tamid, the eternal light. The tradition of an ever-burning light dates back to the days of the Temple where the Menorah was never permitted to go out, thus symbolizing the nearness of God and our eternal reverence for Torah. The Eternal lights in the Sanctuary and Chapel were designed by Ballini Studios in NYC.
- The lecturn, where the Torah is read, is in the shape of an open book, a symbol of our commitment to study. The lecturn in the Sanctuary is eight feet long and the one in the Chapel, six feet long. Both are highlighted by skylights above.
- Acoustic material forms the backing of the individually walnut-stained oak strips on the balcony walls and behind the bimah. The light fixtures have mercury vapor bulbs.
- The 48 rank, 4,000 pipe organ was build by Casavante Freres of St. Hyacinth, Quebec and features the trumpets from the Lafayette Theater organ.
- There is no "corner" for the placement of the cornerstone, so the 700 pound stone from the building at 599 Delaware was placed in the rear wall behind the Sanctuary Ark. The dates denote our founding in 1850, the dedication of our former building in 1890, and the rebuilding at this location in 1966.
Our Sisterhood Chapel, which accommodates 150 people, provides an intimate atmosphere for Shabbat worship, small weddings, funeral services and cultural programs.
The Rabbi Joseph L. Fink Auditorium is a multi-purpose hall with a large stage. It is available for plays and concerts, B'nai Mitzvah and wedding receptions, Oneg Shabbat and Kiddush, dances, dinners, and carnivals. It can comfortably seat 300 for dinner and holds 800 for a reception.
The Benjamin and Dr. Edgar R. Cofeld Judaic Museum houses an impressive collection of Judaica artifacts. Much of the collection has been donated and bequeathed by congregants. The exhibits are rotated, providing viewing according to the holidays. The Museum is open for browsing and study whenever the building is open, or by appointment. Call (716) 836-6565 to schedule an appointment.
Our Aaron and Bertha Broder Center for Jewish Education, houses our Religious School, our Play and Learn School Early Childhood Program, a library, multi-purpose hall, conference room, Sisterhood Judaica Shop and our primary administrative and clergy offices.
The Zemsky Family Auditorium at the Broder Center is a multi-purpose hall with a stage that can comfortably seat 100 for dinner and accommodate 200 for a reception.
Both of our locations feature:
Kitchens that are equipped with commercial-type facilities. Dishes, flatware and glasses are available for parties, receptions and meetings.
Meeting Rooms, primarily available at the Broder Center and consist of a conference room, classrooms, auditorium, library and lounge. The Boardroom, Rabbi Fink Auditorium and reception area at our 805 Delaware Facility are also available for meetings and receptions.
To schedule the use of these facilities please click here to contact Becky Schiefer, Administrative Assistant or call 836-6565 x110.