Built on a large, sloping field in suburban West Omaha, Beth El Synagogue serves a Conservative congregation of more than 700 families. The new, 34,000 sf building includes a sanctuary, social hall, chapel, offices, and meeting rooms. Located on the edge of a residential neighborhood, the eight-acre site offers panoramic views of downtown Omaha.
The synagogue’s shape and materials evoke historic and ancient forms. Buff-colored brick relates the synagogue to Omaha’s public and institutional buildings while, together with arched windows, it also recalls the colors and forms of ancient Jerusalem. While the plan and section of the sanctuary resolves a program goal, its structure also evokes memories of Eastern Europe’s lost wooden synagogues.