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From Sacred Space to Home Sweet Home

Tajikistan’s last synagogue was razed to the ground recently, to make way for the new presidential palace, despite outcry from the community. Reading this got me thinking about sacred spaces that have been converted into not-so-sacred spaces. In some cases, like Tajikistan, is seems horrible and insensitive. But in other places, it’s not quite so bad. New York Magazine recently covered an old synagogue converted into an artist’s loft. Something about it seems reasonably respectful. And then there’s a design firm in Utrecht, Zecc, that transformed an old chapel into a spacious and fairly trendy home. I know people who have lived in synagogue apartments, or houses owned by their churches, and that doesn’t seem particularly strange to me, but living a regular life in a space that was previously used for worship? Can you imagine having sex two feet from where a bima used to be? Or taking a bath on what used to be an altar?

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