Summer Reading Sale

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN!

Weekly drawing for $100 credit. Subscribe to for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

More at Powell's

Recently Viewed clear list

Original Essays | June 20, 2014

Lisa Howorth: IMG So Many Books, So Many Writers

I'm not a bookseller, but I'm married to one, and Square Books is a family. And we all know about families and how hard it is to disassociate... Continue »


On Order

New Hardcover
Currently out of stock.
Add to Wishlist
available for shipping or prepaid pickup only
Qty Store Section
- Local Warehouse Judaism- General

On Three Pillars: Torah, Worship, and the Practice of Loving Kindness: The Synagogues of Brooklyn


On Three Pillars: Torah, Worship, and the Practice of Loving Kindness: The Synagogues of Brooklyn Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

On Three Pillars: Torah, Worship, and Practice of Loving Kindness, The Synagogues of Brooklyn is not meant to be a complete visual inventory of Brooklyn synagogues, past or present, but an evocation of that history into the present day.

Roughly half the photographs in this book are of synagogues functioning today, the balance of buildings that were once synagogues but have since been adapted to other uses (like churches, community centers, government offices). The photographs are divided into five sections, each containing a picture of an empty lot where a synagogue once stood. In these haunting shots, at first we are tempted to wonder which building pictured was once a synagogue, but then we spy the barren ground of the empty lot and understand: none of them.

The work is personal and unavoidably elegiac. Thomas Roma, who with his wife Anna extensively researched Brooklyn synagogues, looking through old real estates records and telephone books, could have easily filled the book with images of presently functioning Jewish houses of prayer, but chose instead to give equal emphasis to buildings deserted by their congregations.

When a congregation quits its house of prayer, do the walls retain a trace of the sacred? If the building is razed do the charred concrete foundations, the weeds, continue to hold a memory of God’s name? Roma leaves the choice up to us.

About the Author

Thomas Roma, a two-time recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship, has had solo exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art and the International Center of Photography, New York. He is the author of In Prison Air, Sicilian Passage, Show & Tell (powerHouse Books, 2005, 2003, 2002), Sanctuary (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002), Enduring Justice (powerHouse Books, 2001), Higher Ground (Distributed Art Publishers Inc., 1999), Sunset Park (Smithsonian Books, 1998), Found in Brooklyn (W.W. Norton & Co., 1996), and Come Sunday (Museum of Modern Art/Abrams, 1996). Director of Photography at Columbia University, Roma lives in Brooklyn with his wife and son.

Phillip Lopate, born in Brooklyn in 1943, has written three personal essay collections, two novels, two poetry collections, a memoir of his teaching experiences, a collection of his movie criticism, and a biographical monograph. Lopate’s essays have appeared in The Best American Short Stories, The Best American Essays, The Paris Review, Harper's, Vogue, Esquire, The New York Times, and many other periodicals and anthologies. He has been awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, two National Endowment for the Arts grants, and two New York Foundation for the Arts grants. He currently teaches in the MFA graduate programs at Columbia, the New School and Bennington.

Product Details

Roma, Thomas
powerHouse Books
Commentaries by:
Lopate, Phillip
Lopate, Phillip
Lopate, Phillip
Judaism - General
Architectural & Industrial
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
14.8 x 12.2 x 0.7 in 2 lb

Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Photography » Annuals
Arts and Entertainment » Photography » General
Religion » Judaism » General

On Three Pillars: Torah, Worship, and the Practice of Loving Kindness: The Synagogues of Brooklyn New Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$54.95 Backorder
Product details 136 pages powerHouse Books - English 9781576874134 Reviews:
  • back to top
Follow us on...

Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at