Temple B’Nai Israel in Olean, stands as a highly intact example of an early 20th century synagogue in a small city in Western New York. Demonstrating its architect’s knowledge of national trends in synagogue architecture, its design combines a variety of motifs derived from historic southern and eastern European styles, as well as Middle Eastern architecture. The facade, dominated by a single, massive arch, is similar to other notable American synagogues of the period, specifically B’Nai Jeshurun in Manhattan and Temple Beth-El in Brooklyn. The building played an important role locally as the spiritual, cultural, and social center for the small but active Jewish community of Olean. Designed by architect J. Milton Hurd, Temple B’Nai Israel was dedicated on September 29, 1929 in an elaborate ceremony.
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