Kehilath Jeshurun was designed by George F. Pelham in 1902, borrowing the Renaissance Revival design of a Reform temple, the West End Synagogue, and serving as the source of inspiration for numerous other Orthodox synagogues that copied KJ's design. The building symbolized the modern Orthodox orientation of the congregation as they achieved the American dream.
The synagogue building is a great example of Renaissance Revival design. The view from the west, with the beautiful stained glass windows visible over the beautifully landscaped plaza belonging to the adjacent building (111 East 85) is exquisite, during the day and when the windows are illuminated at twilight or night.
The building is jeopardized by the congregation's proposed plans to build a playroof, visible from the street, on its roof, and to partially cantilever a 355 feet tall glass condo tower over it. The congregation is presently seeking zoning variances from the Board of Standards and Appeals for this purpose.
Carnegie Hill Neighbors and Civitas are two organizations to contact for more information. (November2007)