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Preservation Call: Forest Hills Jewish Center

October 10, 2020

Forest Hills Jewish Center, designed by Joseph J. Furman, is a fine example of strong and restrained Modernism drawing from both the Art Moderne and International Style. Most striking is the synagogue’s convex facade that features a looming expanse of pinkish-gold Crab Orchard stone broken only by a trio of tall stained glass windows in an exaggerated limestone structural frame. When built it was a radical departure from the usual Moorish and Oriental style of synagogue architecture, embodying the spirit and social philosophies of midcentury Judaism. Completed in 1949, the building received Honorable Mention for excellence in design and construction from the Queens Chamber of Commerce soon after and has been a visible cornerstone of the Forest Hills and Rego Park neighborhoods for 70 years. In addition to the synagogue, the complex includes a 5-story education building with more pronounced International Style leanings and several other multi-purpose structures, many for community use. With changes in the congregation size over the years and the dynamics of the current real estate market, the congregation has moved to sell its complex for redevelopment, which would most likely result in demolition of the buildings. The Rego-Forest Preservation Council is leading efforts to gain landmark protection for this valuable architectural and community resource.

Visit Queens Modern for building details and a photo gallery.

“Preservation Call: Forest Hills Jewish Center, A Community Cornerstone!” Rego-Forest Preservation Council, Thursday August 27.

Forest Hills Jewish Center, Synagogue (1949), Joseph J. Furman. Photo: Frampton Tolbert.
Forest Hills Jewish Center, Synagogue (1949), Joseph J. Furman. Photo: Frampton Tolbert.
Forest Hills Jewish Center, Education Center, Joseph J. Furman. Photo: Frampton Tolbert.