Once synagogue murals were typical, but today they are very rare. The Burlington mural’s content and design is part of a Jewish art tradition common in Eastern Europe prior to World War II. When our mural was created in 1910, it was meant to be a visual link between the physical and spiritual worlds. It also provides a physical link between the Old World and the New, reflecting distant homelands and traditional practices, offset by signs of American modernity/progress. During the Holocaust, very few synagogue paintings survived destruction by the Nazis. Fewer still were maintained by the decimated Jewish communities remaining after the war or by new owners who occupied former Jewish buildings. Today, this striking painting is one of only a handful of extant European-style murals in North American synagogues. The others are mainly fragmentary and comparatively small. None are quite so grand, complete, or compelling as this one.
CLICK HERE to read more about the mural’s antecedents in Eastern Europe.