2012, I had the opportunity to design and create two
glass windows for Anshe Sfard Synagogue in
Akron, Ohio. The stained glass windows are
located on either side of the Holy Ark in the main sanctuary.
At the top of both
window is an arch that defines the double tablets
that symbolize the Ten Commandments. This theme is carried down through
the entire artwork by the
Hebrew numerals 1 through 5 down the center of the right window and 6
through 10 down the center of the left window, an easily recognizable
visualization of the commandments themselves.
Although these two windows are separated by about 15 feet, they are
tied together into one artwork by the open Torah scroll that spans both
windows (done in brown
The window on the left depicts representations of Jewish
Mitzvot, or good
deeds. These include (from top to bottom) a Tzedakah
box for collecting donations for charity; a
Mezuzah containing the quintessential Jewish prayer that
hangs on the door-frames of homes and other buildings; Sabbath Candles;
Tefillin, which are small boxes containing Torah
readings that are worn during
religious services; and a Siddur or Jewish prayerbook.
The window on the
right depicts representations of Jewish holidays.
These include (from top to bottom) a menorah - or candelabra - used during
Hanukkah; two hamentashen or pastries eaten during Purim; a lulav
(tied bundle of fronds) and
an etrog (a lemon-like fruit), which are representations of the harvest
and used during the holiday of Sukkot: a Megilah,
or small scroll containing the story of Esther and read aloud on the
holiday of Purim; a Shofar,
or ram's horn, blown during religious services on Rosh Hashana and Yom
Kippur; and a matzah or unleavened bread eaten during Passover.
This synagogue stained glass artwork was commissioned while the entire
synagogue was undergoing an expansion and remodel. The Rabbi wanted the
stained glass in place for the High Holy Days even though the rest of
the main sanctuary was not fully completed. As with all of my large
commissions, I give the clients the option of paying for insured
shipping (and installing the stained glass without my presence) or
paying slightly more for me to deliver and install the windows. In this
case the Rabbi chose the latter, and I was happy to drive the windows
to Akron and put them in myself. I always like when that happens as I
get to meet the people for whom I have created such meaningful artworks.
After the renovation was complete, these photographs were taken and
sent to me so that I might present them to you. As with almost
all stained glass, the actual windows are much more impressive than
they appear in these photos.
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