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Partitions in Synagogues Can Combine Style and Function

They are an inseparable part of the synagogue’s landscape, dividing the prayer space between men and women. Over time partitions have become much more than a functional item.

As with other important elements inside the synagogue, partitions are due their own special focus, not only in terms of functionality but equally in terms of aesthetics. Everything works in unison and so everything should be planned.

 

What types are there?

A partition will either be fixed or movable. Synagogues on a single level use the movable screens to allow flexibility in using the hall according to needs such as prayer or family events. Fixed (permanent) partitions are found in synagogues on two levels and often on single levels too.

 

How are they structured?

Most partitions have an upper and lower part. The lower part is solid while the upper part looks like a grille and allows women to observe the prayer service and feel part of it.

 

What are typical dimensions?

The standard height is 180 cm, with a division in the middle (at 90 cms). Standard widths per screen are 120 cms. How far should the grille section go? That’s a decision for the individual community and how conservative or liberal they are. In any event, Lavi Furniture Industries can satisfy all needs.

 

Making them ‘multi-purpose’

When men and women are on the same floor, the partition can be made to be ‘multi-purpose’. The lower part on both sides can store books and prayer shawls. Another arrangement can include folding shelves for the women in the first row.

 

Easy to move around

All movable partitions should have wheels or sliders for good maneuverability – wheels that can be locked firmly when arranged in a line. They should be designed for easy storage with a minimum of wasted space.  In our plant, partitions are made with retractable wheels for greater convenience.

 

Emphasize the artistic aspect

Today it is very popular for the upper parts of partitions to have decorative elements that add beauty to the prayer hall. There are many kinds of decorations.

 

The most common choices are glass (burned or printed), metal cutting (painted in a range of colors) as well as laser or CNC cutting (including MDF wood finish with veneer in a variety of shades). Lavi has over 20 styles of grille and special designs can also be made.

 

Partitions – the next generation

To serve synagogues with multiple needs, we have developed a unique partition (patented by Lavi) with the upper section that can be raised and lowered. It can be fitted to both fixed and movable partitions.

For non-prayer events such as lectures, bar mitzvah celebrations and other social events the whole prayer hall can be used with minimal inconvenience – and then restored to ‘traditional mode’ at prayer time.

With some creative thinking and sensitivity to design, partitions can become an integral part of the new synagogue concept.