AKA: First Hebrew Congregation Synagogue, Oakland, CA

Structure Type: built works - religious structures - synagogues

Designers: Lansburgh, G. Albert, Architect (firm); Gustave Albert Lansburgh (architect)

Dates: constructed 1913-1914

2 stories

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2808 Summit Street
Pill Hill, Oakland, CA 94609

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Building History

This was the third synagogue erected by the Temple Sinai/1st Hebrew Congregation since 1878. A notable Jewish architect, G. Albert Lansburgh (1876-1969) of San Francisco, designed the grand, Neo-Classical building. The Temple Sinai Congregation has said of it: "After 1910 the congregation's leaders once again decided to move. In September 1914 its new home, at 28th and Webster was dedicated. The Ladies' Auxiliary once again contributed a large sum. Their gift allowed the temple to purchase a new organ with more than 900 pipes. Over the front entrance, between Corinthian columns and under an elliptical dome, is an inscription from Isaiah, " My House shall be a House of Prayer for All Peoples." The guests at the opening included Rabbis from across the nation.. The building was called "Temple Sinai." The synagogue has been known by that name ever since." (See TempleSinai.org, "History of Temple Sinai (1875 - 2017)," accessed 04/13/2018.)


An expansion plan occurred in 2006. The temple's web site stated: "In 2006 Temple Sinai embarked on a project to expand and modernize its facility. The synagogue's members contributed over $12 million to create a new campus on an expanded footprint. Groundbreaking took place in October 2008, exactly 95 years after work began on the sanctuary. The new facility, which includes an expanded school wing, new clergy offices and a new chapel, opened in the summer of 2010. The campus is named in honor of Rabbi Chester and his wife Leona. The Chapel is named in honor of longtime community leaders Henry and Mathilde Albers." (See TempleSinai.org, "History of Temple Sinai (1875 - 2017)," accessed 04/13/2018.)

The Jewish News of Northern California described the new additions: "A new building, constructed for $15 million during renovations from 2008 to 2010, wraps around about half of the old structure. A block-long wall of small tiles made from Jerusalem stone is a focal point of the new, light-filled building, which also houses offices, a preschool, a library, classrooms and a chapel." (See Patricia Corrigan, Jewish News of Northern California.org, "A place of tradition, innovation: Temple Sinai sanctuary marks 100 years in downtown Oakland," published 02/21/2014, accessed 04/13/2018..)

PCAD id: 21289