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The "Tree of Life"   


The faceted glass window on the bima wall represents the Tree of Life, which is reflective of the prayer Etz Chayyim he l'maazeekim bah – It is a Tree of Life to those who cling steadfastly to it. At the top of the tree are the Ten Commandments, the basic principles of Jewish ethics. The Ark forms the "trunk" for the Tree of Life, and the wooden branches stretch upward, entwined in the six branches of the menorah, to join the menorah of the ceiling. Back to Top 

Menorah Ceiling   

The ceiling of the Harry and Rose Samson Sanctuary is fashioned in the shape of a menorah. The centerpiece of the menorah is the skylight that allows us to gaze heavenward toward the firmament, created on the second day of creation. The theme of the menorah, a source of light and enlightenment, is also displayed within the faceted glass window intertwined with the Tree of Life. Back to Top 

The Inscriptions on the Wall

Suzi Derzon and Rabbi Shapiro selected the inscriptions that flank the wall, carved in bronze letters. The inscription on the wall pictured above is from the Talmud and reads "Know before Whom you Stand." The inscription on the wall pictured below is from the Book of Exodus: "Make for me a sanctuary and I shall dwell among you." Only after these inscriptions were chosen, did they realize that thirty-six letters comprise the two inscriptions, a number that has long enjoyed spiritual significance because it is twice "Chai," which means "Life." Thirty-six also represents the legend of the 36 righteous people who live in the world at any given time, and by their integrity sustain the world. Back to Top 

The Tallit on the Wall  

The Tallit, or prayer shawl, stretches across the entire bima wall. The fringes that cascade downward from the four knots represent all humanity residing at the four corners of God's earth. They are reflective of a prayer that not only will the wearer of the tallit be blessed by God's nearness, but all who dwell at the four corners of the earth will be blessed by the divine promise of spiritual warmth and peace.  The tallit on the wall, wraps the entire congregation in the warmth of communal worship. Back to Top 

The Wall and Yahrzeit Panels

Also designed by Suzi Derzon is the shin and Yahrzeit Panels at the back of the sanctuary. The lannon stone wall is reminiscent of the Western Wall in Jerusalem. The windows that wrap around the western wall of the sanctuary, coupled with the wood ceiling and lannon stone wall, offer a natural setting that enables each worshipper to appreciate the splendor of God's creation and the beautiful world in which we live. Back to Top 

The Door Handles 

The door handles welcome each person who enters the sanctuary with Shalom, or peace. The bronze handles that adorn the entrance doors on the outside of the sanctuary form the Hebrew letter "shin," the first letter of the word "Shalom," which is the Hebrew word for peace. Back to Top 

Tue, April 23 2024 15 Nisan 5784