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Rodef Shalom Congregation - Pittsburgh - Main Sanctuary by Stan Franzos

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About This Gigapan

Taken by
Stan Franzos Stan Franzos
Explore score
0.12 Gigapixels
Date added
Feb 26, 2011
Date taken
Feb 26, 2011

Rodef Shalom Temple is one of five Synagogues on the National Register of Historic Places. It was designed by Henry Hornbostel, the architect that Andrew Carnegie selected to design his college, Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University). Hornbostel respected the traditional, but he was also a modernist and incorporated many new ideas in the design of the temple. He used cream-colored bricks made from local clay and terra-cotta, a new art form at that time but reminiscent of an ancient craft.

To dramatize the building, Hornbostel covered the temple with a louvre dome of cream colored terra-cotta ribs and green-glazed terra-cotta tiles in a unique basket-weave style. The dome (actually a double dome 90 feet in diameter) and sanctuary (almost a square, 92 feet on a side) are built of Guastavino structural tile and were the first of this size build without any structural steel. The stained glass window at the top of the dome has been call the "Eye of God" as it filters natural light dramatically down to the sanctuary.

The sanctuary contains seven stained glass windows in addition to the stained glass window at the top of the dome. Four of these windows, depicting biblical themes based on Isaiah, Exodus, Ruth and the Proverbs, were removed from the earlier temple on Eight Street and installed in the Fifth Avenue sanctuary. The two tallest windows in the sanctuary were designed in 1907 and depict the twelve crests of the ancient tribes of Israel.

For the interior of the sanctuary, Hornbostel designed a dignified, quietly sumptuous space of oak and gilt, focused on the bemah, and an ark with Ionic columns. The watchword of Judaism - "Hear O Israel The Eternal Is Our God The Eternal Is One" - is set in tiles in the space above the bemah. In addition to the stained glass window and skylight, the temple also is lit by four blue and gold chandeliers.

Installed above the bemah in the sanctuary was a magnificent 1907 Kimball organ containing 55 ranks and 3123 pipes. When it was built it was the third largest organ in the United States.

Rodef Shalom is a Reform Jewish congregation dedicated to melding the traditions of our faith with contemporary life. This has been our aim for more than 150 years. Through our rabbinic staff, organizations, community events, and religious services, we strive to enlighten and edify, while hewing to the ideals of progressive Jewish thought. Rodef Shalom Congregation welcomes interfaith families into our community and encourages participation for everyone.

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Stitcher Notes


GigaPan Stitch version 1.0.0804 (Macintosh)
Panorama size: 120 megapixels (19884 x 6068 pixels)
Input images: 72 (12 columns by 6 rows)
Field of view: 143.0 degrees wide by 43.6 degrees high (top=24.2, bottom=-19.4)
All default settings
Original image properties:
Camera model: NIKON D700
Image size: 2500x1664 (4.2 megapixels)
Capture time: 2011-02-26 14:51:43 - 2011-02-26 14:55:27
Aperture: f/11
Exposure time: 0.25
ISO: 400
Focal length (35mm equiv.): 120.0 mm
Digital zoom: off
White balance: Fixed
Exposure mode: Manual
Horizontal overlap: 33.6 to 42.4 percent
Vertical overlap: 45.9 to 46.6 percent
Computer stats: 6144 MB RAM, 2 CPUs
Total time 2:53 (2.4 seconds per picture)
Alignment: 52 seconds, Projection: 13 seconds, Blending: 1:47
(Preview finished in 1:21)

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