- Holocaust Memorial Scroll
- Stained Glass Windows
- Our Aron Kodesh and Ner Tamid
- Our Chuppah
- Our Genizah
- Tree of Life – Etz Chaim
- Memorial Board
Written by Jeff Gottesman
In the corridor leading to the atrium is Kehillat Ma’arav’s Holocaust Memorial Scroll, which is on permanent loan from the Czech Memorial Scrolls Trust in London, England.
The Torah that is displayed in our entry way comes from the small town of Breznice in the Czech Republic. The town is located 43 miles southwest of Prague in central Bohemia. Over half a century ago, the community of Breznice would dance with the Torah on Simchat Torah, listen to children reading from it on their Bar Mitzvah day, and touch it as it was paraded around the synagogue on Shabbat.
In 1994, this Torah was granted to Kehillat Ma’arav on permanent loan from the Czech Memorial Scrolls Trust. Read the full story on the Holocaust Memorial Scroll.
A previous KM fund-raising project was held to place nine stained glass windows in the building. Our goal was to beautify our sanctuary and administrative offices. At the same time, we raised funds for the annual operating budget and established a long term endowment for future needs and programs.
The project was extremely successful, placing nine windows that reflect the artistry of David and Michelle Plachte-Zuieback. Their work is prominently featured in other local synagogues as well, such as Valley Beth Shalom.
You are invited to view each of the windows, along with commentary on their symbolism and location in this pdf: Stained Glass Windows.
Click on each of the thumbnails below to see a larger image.
KM’s Aron Kodesh (ark) and Ner Tamid (eternal light) include pomegranates, wheat and blue stripes. Pomegranates represent the 613 mitzvot, wheat is symbolic of the early sacrifices offered in the Temple and the blue horizontal stripes are reminiscent of the stripes on the tallit.
The magnificent chuppah is displayed on the south wall of the sanctuary. It was lovingly designed and hand stitched by a dedicated committee of KM volunteers. The words in its rings include benefits and obligations of marriage, the grapes represent holiness and pomegranates signify abundance. Around the perimeter are silhouettes to remind us of the holy city of Jerusalem, our ancestral and spiritual homeland.
The Chuppah is more than just a work of art that adorns the premises. It is available for use during weddings at Kehillat Ma’arav. Call the synagogue office to discuss cleaning fees.
Beneath the Holocaust Memorial Scroll is a Genizah. It has two plaques on it. The one on the right explains that it was donated by the students of the Religious School’s Hei Graduating Class of 2001.
The other plaque reads: “GENIZAH The word means storage room. It comes from a Persian word ‘Ginzak’, which means treasury. Originally, the word meant ‘hiding’, but it soon became a noun that means hiding place. The Genizah was very often a special room in a Synagogue or school. Sometimes, the Genizah was in the attic or between walls where old and worn books could be stored. In times of war…or when Jews were forced to convert, or renounced their faith…the Genizah became a concealed vault. In good times to be buried with honor as we do today.”
Kehillat Ma’arav’s Tree of Life is the magnificent wall sculpture which adorns our atrium. A leaf may be inscribed and placed on the tree to honor someone or to recall a joyous occasion. Call the synagogue office to order this everlasting tribute.