Beth-El Synagogue: History; contributor: Rangan Datta
- Synagogues of Calcutta: Maghen David Synagogue and Beth-El Synagogue
Beth El Synagogue was set up in 1856 and literally means the House of God. It is located stones throw away from the Magen David Synagogue and is located just of the Brabourne Road, on Pollock Street. Surrounded by shops selling electrical goods the Beth El Synagogue is located in one of the busiest localities of Calcutta (Kolkata). Although the words “Beth El Synagogue” are written at the entrance but the thousand of people walking past it everyday is unaware of its exsistence.
The Beth El Synagogue is a approached by a flight of marble stairs toped with an arched stained glass and finally crowned with a clock (not visible in the photo). The pale yellow faced of the Bethel Synagogue is complete with Jewish iconography of the hexagonal “Star of David” and the seven pointed candle stand of “Menorah.”
Although the services of the Beth El Synagogue have long stopped but the interior are astonishingly well maintained. The chequered marble floor, gleaming chandeliers, stained glass windows create a stunning atmosphere.
The hall is surrounded by balconies, reserved for women, on three sides.
At the centre of the hall lies the raised platform, from where the Rabbi (Jewish Prist) carried out his services.
At the end of the hall lies the alter crowned with the Apse (Half Dome).
The apse represents the heaven and is painted with the star studded sky. It also contains Hebrew inscriptions, including the “Ten Commandments.”
The stained glasses are the one of the finest attraction of the Beth El Synagogue. The most attractive of the stained glass lies atop the main arched entrance of the Beth El Synagogue. The beautiful arched shaped stained glass is best viewed from the balcony opposite the alter.
The full article can be found here https://rangandatta.wordpress.com/2012/01/18/synagogues-of-calcutta-kolkata/
The Beth-El Synagogue, contributed to the full religious life of the Jewish Community in Calcutta since it possessed a mikveh, which is unfortunately no longer in use.