Built St. Louis > > MidCentury Modernism > >Chesed Shel Emeth Shul

Chesed Shel Emeth Synagogue
700 North & South Road, University City - West County
Architect: Shapiro & Tisdale, 1950

Stained Glass: Emil Frei Company? Unverified

Only blocks away from Shaare-Zedek, this shul is similarly Modern and uses the same vocabulary of blonde brick. Set among the Tudor and New England style houses on these suburban streets, its eruption of overlapping pure geometric forms is a shocking contrast with its suburban surroundings.

Exterior stained glass is minimal, consisting of a few random colored panels with etched designs, set in a wall of clear glass at the south side entrance. The interior is spare and sparsely decorated. The lobby uses the same stainless steel railings as the exterior steps.

The sanctuary was renovated in 2010, losing some of its period elements but retaining the original light fixtures as well as the signature sculpture on the front wall.

The Chesed Shel Emeth Society did not begin as a congregation, but rather a Jewish association concerned with helping the poor. Chesed Shel Emeth was founded by Russian Jews who had fled oppression in their homeland, and initially focused on providing funeral burial services to the indigent. A cemetery at Hanley and Olive was followed by a hospital and other social services; eventually the society bought a synagogue at Page and Euclid in 1919. In 1950 the Orthadox congregation moved into this Modern building, where it remained until disbanding in 1996.1

Today the building houses Shaarei Chesed Shul, which merged in 2006 with another nearby congregation to form Beth Hamedrosh Hagodol Shaarei Chesed Shul, more informally known as U.City Shul.

  • Beth Hamedrosh Hagodol Shaarei Chesed official site
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