On a recent trip to Savannah, Georgia, my wife and I had the privilege of touring a gothic synagogue. Savannah has many old buildings styles from Victorian to Federal to Italianate, and throughout the city are many beautiful church buildings, many of which are built in the Gothic style. But right off of Bull St., which is a central avenue of sorts in Savannah, is a beautiful Jewish synagogue built in the Gothic style where the Congregation Mickve Isreal meets. The building is the only gothic style synagogue in America. And the Congregation Mickve Isreal is the third oldest congregation in the states, dating back to 1733, when forty-one Jewish settlers arrived in the colony of Georgia.
The sanctuary itself dates back to 1878 and was built to provide a place of worship for a growing Jewish community. There are many stunning stained glass windows but only three which are above the ark are as old as the building. The picture on the left shows one of the large windows that surround the sanctuary.
Several Torahs are found in the ark, one of which was reclaimed from the Nazis after their defeat by the Allied forces ( seen below). Another Torah, displayed in the museum, was brought over with the original settlers and is said to date back the the 14th century. It is brought out and read from once a year to celebrate the founding of the synagogue.