I have noticed in many examples of traditional Ashkenazi schul architecture that there are two towers flanking the entrance.

Examples may be seen in such disparate locations as Gąbin, Poland (Gombin), Frankfurt (IRG–Khal 'Adath Jeschurun), Chelsea, MA (Walnut St. Schul–Agudas Sholom), and Budapest (Dohányi St. neolog schul).

Some non-Ashkenazi schuls, such as the Great Synagogue of Florence (Italki) also exhibit this feature.

This prompts three questions:

  • Is this architectural practice referred to at all in rabbinic literature, or sourced therefrom?
  • Is there any significance to the towers outside of rabbinic literature?
  • Should this feature be kept in newer schuls?
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    It sounds like an imitation of the two non load bearing pillars that were in front of the beis hamikdash, named Yachin and Bo'az. The one place I've seen this feature where I spoke to the person who designed the בית מדרש he told me that's what they were emulating. – WAF Jan 20 '17 at 10:40
  • 1
    @WAF This seems to be a valid answer and you have sourced it with an architect. Go ahead and make it an answer. – sabbahillel Jan 20 '17 at 10:49
  • @WAF, I thought of Yachin uVo'az myself, but it didn't seem right to me for some reason. – Noach MiFrankfurt Jan 20 '17 at 14:40
  • Hard to say. In a number of instances, such column pairs are assumed to be part of this motif. At least 4 or 5 of the shuls described here, attribute the feature to that association - e.g. p. 64 - with varying degrees of certainty. It's also taken for granted on p. 35 here (PDF) as a recurring motif. I can only assess the true intent in one case, and this was a small beis midrash scholarly articles have probably never been written about. . . – WAF Jan 20 '17 at 15:21

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