Religious Life

Blessed May You Be When You Enter – A Weekly Letter From Rabbi Davis – May 3, 2019

Shalom Chaverim,

I am delighted to tell you about the new addition to the 26th Street entrance- an art installation that beautifully and creatively covers up an eyesore*.  

When we renovated the building in 2012, we excavated along 26th street down to the foundation. According to city code, we were not permitted to touch or brick over the now exposed foundation. But we could hide it.

It took several years, but we found a wonderful solution. Our decorating committee worked with Todd Craig of TR Craig Interior Design and local artist, Jacque Rosenau, on a design that was brought before the synagogue board.

As you can see from the picture, the metal and stone mirror the swoop of the sanctuary. The glass medallion quotes Beth El’s motto in Hebrew and English: “We shall go forward with our young and with our old” (Exodus 10:9).

Jacque explains her artistic vision this way:

The original inspiration came from the stained-glass composition in the Spiegel Sanctuary.

I gravitated to the color palette and the contemporary application of forms.  My attention was drawn to the upward curves and circular shape of the eternal light above the bima.

I liked the idea of working in the round. It not only has an eternal quality but also a spiral quality.

Moving outward from generation to generation. The foreground figures are of children facing upward towards the parental figures and finally the elder on the left who is supported by the other figures.  The importance of the figures reflects the importance of Jewish family and community.

Back further in the spiral are the references of worship. The three blue panels at the top which are further out of the spiral project back from the older figure, they were inspired by the original Beth El windows. The angular shapes on either side of the figures are taken from the current support structure of the sanctuary.

The quote which describes the Israelites leaving Egypt captures the spirit of our congregation as an inter-generational community. United in common cause and responsible for each other, we journey down the well-worn path of our ancestors while looking toward the future.

Stop by and see it in person!

Rabbi Alexander Davis

*Funds for this installation were allocated from the building renovation fund in 2012.