Our Sacred Address

Tour Our Facilities

Our new Synagogue was designed by award winning Lake/Flato Architects, Inc. It is featured in "American Synagogues, A Century of Architecture and Jewish Community" text by Sam Gruber (ISBN: 0847825493). Please visit the:

The Sanctuary

David Finkel PhotographyOur two-tiered main sanctuary centers on the Amud (Torah Stand) and encourages participation by those gathered in prayer around the Shaliach Tzibbur (Messenger of the Congregation, Prayer Leader). The design is meant to evoke the tent of meeting of the wilderness tabernacle. The sanctuary walls are made from limestone blocks, reminding us of the walls of our ancient temple in Jerusalem. The Aron Hakodesh, the ark curtain, and the eternal light, taken together, link us with our past and help us reflect on our relationship with God.  The acoustics and seating also make the sanctuary a fine setting for chamber music and other musical performances that enhance the experience of the congregation.

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Arun Kodesh exterior door decoration

Designed by Dr. Mark Podwal, internationally acclaimed artist and illustrator, a Hebrew Zodiac etched in copper appears on the exterior of the ark doors.  The artist based his drawing on the following Talmudic verse: “He who sees the sun in its seasons, the moon in its fullness, the stars in their orbit, the planets in their fixed order, will say ‘Blessed be the Creator of the Universe’”. Zodiac signs appeared frequently in early Jewish art particularly in synagogue floor mosaics. The balancing scale of Libra coincides with the month of Tishrei, the period of divine judgment. Taurus was linked to the calf slaughtered by Abraham for his angelic guests, while Gemini is said to represent Jacob and Esau. The twelve Zodiac signs were also said to correspond to the twelve tribes of Israel.

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Arun Kodesh interior door decoration  

All that which I created, I created in pairs: Heaven and earth a pair, the sun and moon a pair, Adam and Eve a pair” (Song of Songs Rabbah). Based this verse, Dr. Podwal depicts the sun and moon, a pair of rimmonim, a pair of tefillin, a pair of hands configuring the priestly blessing, a pair of challot, and the two tablets of the Ten Commandments protected by a pair of lions on the interior of the ark doors.

 

The Parochet

Dr. Podwal's design for the Parochet, the curtain in front of the Arun Kodesh, is a Tree of Life with the Torah scrolls as the trunk.  A second tree representing the Kabalistic diagram portraying the ten sefirot or attributes of G-d of appears among the leaves of the larger tree. 

Ner Tamid

The Ner Tamid was designed by Austin artist Kathleen Ash to represent an oil lamp. The curved metal supports for the red slumped glass were meant to evoke the graceful strokes used in Hebrew calligraphy.

Torah Mantels

The Torah mantles, also designed by Dr. Podwal, each represent a Jewish festival or day of remembrance. The Yom Ha-Shah mantle is worn by a Torah saved from the Holocaust and bears an upside down Menorah formed by converging railroad tracks.

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Mikdash M’at  

The ark in the Mikdash M’at (Small Chapel) is a recreation of the original Arun Kodesh brought from the congregation's San Jacinto location more than 50 years ago to the synagogue on Bull Creek.  Mark Landers, an Austin craftsman, incorporated the old ark's capitals, carved lions, Decalogue, and curtain within his elegant maple reproduction. The room's Ner Tamid also comes from the Bull Creek Mikdash.  The stained glass windows, which represent the twelve tribes of Israel, were originally commissioned for the first Bull Creek sanctuary.  With the help of Austin's Renaissance Glass, they were reworked and moved to their current location.

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Our Garden

The landscape at CAA was designed by Brad Goldberg of Dallas to honor our roots in the Promised Land and at the same time respect the fact that we now live in Austin, TX.

Hand-chiseled Jerusalem stone quarried and crafted in Israel forms a transitional "carpet" from the parking areas (our secular life) to the entry into sacred space (our spiritual life).

Seven species (honey, wheat, barley, pomegranates, figs, grapes, olive) are mentioned in the Torah, and most are represented in our landscape. However, since many of the plants mentioned in the Torah are not really suited to Austin, we substituted equivalents that work in our climate. Inland sea oats are a representation of wheat and barley. Pecans supplement the biblically important almond tree.  Pomegranate and fig groves are planted on the south side of the administration building. The Red Buds on the north side of the building are a cousin of trees that are plentiful in Israel and have been planted to reclaim an area scarred by the construction.

Wandering through the desert and settling in the Promised Land is a defining story for Jews. This story is told in many ways through our landscape design. During our years in the desert where water was scarce, legend has it that a well always followed us. The well (“Miriam’s Well”) was viewed as being G-d's recognition of Miriam's merit. We have 2 such wells to remind us, not only of the role of Miriam (and other women) in our history, but also of the importance of water to all of us who live in Central Texas on the edge of a desert.

Gardens themselves are another recurring theme in our tradition.  In the desert they were groves of trees for 'blessed shade', to provide relief from the heat and to be symbols of growth and G-d's bounty. Our wells are shaded by trees and we showed respect for trees by saving as many as possible when we built our synagogue.

Gardens are by nature living and evolving.  Please watch as ours gets fuller and more beautiful through the years.

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The Social Hall

By standing alone, rather than opening into the sanctuary for High Holiday crowds, the social hall breaks from typical mid 20th century synagogue design.  This generously-sized room seats over 400 people, and can also be partitioned into a number of smaller configurations using two sets of bi-fold doors. Each of the sub-sections of the social hall has access to the kitchen. 

Additionally, there is an easy flow outside to a lovely courtyard into which community celebrations often extend.

Etched glass doors designed in 1989 by artist and former congregant Carolyn Manosevitz to adorn the ark in the main sanctuary on Bull Creek are now artfully displayed in the social hall.  They depict the Tree of Life and contain the names of the matriarchs and patriarchs.  

 

 


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Our Kosher Kitchen

The kitchen at CAA is a fully equipped commercial kitchen and is strictly kosher. There are separate work bays for meat and dairy preparation. Facilities also include kosher utensils, place setting, flatware and serving pieces for both meat and dairy. The kitchen is supervised by the Rabbi and caterers must be certified before they can use the facilities.

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Education Facility

Our education facility located adjacent to the synagogue complex, occupies 27,000 square feet on the second floor and includes an annex for children in pre-K and K. The facility was a gift from several benefactors of the Jewish community. Dedicated in December, 1999, the facility was immediately put into operation. The facility houses a kitchen, large social hall, a computer lab, a library and over 20 large classrooms. Each classroom is equipped with at least one computer. The education facility also serves as home to the Austin Jewish Academy and is also used by the Jewish Community Association of Austin for evening programs.

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Reception and Gift Shop

The reception area, located in the administration wing, is a warm, inviting space offering a seating area, information on current events and friendly help from our receptionist. Adjacent to the reception area is the Judaic gift shop managed by Sisterhood. The shop offers a wide range of goods including those by Israeli and local crafts people.


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7300 Hart Lane, Austin, Texas 78731 (P)  512.735.8400 (F) 512.735.8401


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