Orthodox Jewish congregations are not permitted to employ electronic sound reinforcement or amplification technology in their temples. Acoustic design therefore, plays a critical role in assuring acceptable levels of speech intelligibility for their services. This issue was a paramount concern when Miami’s Young Israel Temple began planning their new Shul.
The issue of overall quietness was equally important to that of achieving the highest quality speech intelligibility. With the congregation separated into two sections, men on the ground floor, women in the balcony, and potential traffic noise intrusion from the busy street, effective sound isolation was a primary concern. And as is befitting any house of worship, the interior design needed to reflect a warm and pious ambiance.
recise the geometrical calculations determined the optimal configuration of walls, ceiling height and related ‘fixed’ construction elements. Potential reflective sound issues were resolved with the aid of recently developed “invisible” construction elements such as striking, micro-perforated wooden diffusers, and highly effective absorptive plaster. But, traditional treatments were engaged as well.