The Architecture of Gender: Women in the Eastern European Synagogue

Vladimir Levin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article analyses the architecture of women’s sections in eastern European synagogues and argues that two profound changes took place, one in the eighteenth century and the second in the second half of the nineteenth century. The first was moving of the women’s section from an external (but not detached) annex into the main volume of the synagogue; the second was the introduction of women’s galleries into the prayer halls. The first move coincided with the alteration of the woman’s status in Jewish traditional society, while the second move resulted from the arrival of modernity and reflected the changing place of women in eastern European Jewish society.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)89-134
Number of pages46
JournalJewish History
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V.


  • Eastern Europe
  • Jewish history
  • Jewish women
  • Synagogue architecture


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