Ohel Jakob Synagogue, Munich, Germany

Wandel Hoefer Lorch
Date Built
Completed 2006
The Ohel Jakob (meaning Jacob’s Tent) synagogue in Munich’s Sankt-Jakobs-Platz is one of a cluster of three buildings (all by the same architectural practice) that make up the Jewish Centre.  The synagogue is a cubic structure featuring a formidable stone wall composed of blocks of travertine.

Rising above the wall is a glass and steel structure intended to represent a tent and symbolise Moses’ 40 year journey through the desert. 

The building is oriented towards the east and the main entrance has metal doors on which are Hebrew letters depicting the Ten Commandments. 

Inside there is room for 550 worshippers.  The cornerstone of the building was laid on 9 November 2006, the 68th anniversary of Kristallnacht.  The Munich Jewish Museum’s website says of the synagogue that its design was, “Inspired by two recurring architectural forms in the history of Judaism, the temple and the tent, the new synagogue fluctuates between stability and flexibility. These two states significantly govern the actual interior and exterior of the space.”

The Centre also includes the Munich Jewish Museum described as, "... a freestanding cube .... Its transparent ground floor lobby, glazed on all four sides, functions not only as a display window but also as a public space. Here, visitors can find the information desk, museum bookstore, and Café-Bar. The two floors above house our changing exhibitions, Learning Center, and Library. The Jewish Museum’s permanent exhibition is located on the lower level."

The ground-floor windows of the museum are decorated with quotations like the one below.

The third element of the Jewish Centre in the square is the Community Centre.

Of this building the museum's website says, "... The new multipurpose community center has been created to meet the religious, social and cultural needs of a rapidly growing community. With the increased immigration of individuals from the CIS states of the former Soviet Union, the Jewish community has grown to include approximately 9,000 members. The center will provide services that range from a public elementary school, a kindergarten and a youth center, to a community auditorium, kosher restaurant, and the administrative offices and social services department of the Jewish community."