Harry and Rose Samson Sanctuary

Congregation Shalom, a sanctuary of peace, bids you a welcome of peace. May our sanctuary be a house of prayer for all people. The Harry and Rose Samson sanctuary is our home for worship. The sanctuary is enhanced with the artwork of Suzi Derzon, our artist in residence. The Harry and Rose Samson sanctuary, dedicated in 1991-92, is a source of spiritual and artistic elegance. As Suzi worked on the sanctuary, she constantly thought of the sun, light and shadow, and air -- all gifts of God. She felt the colored-faceted glass "Tree of Life"--full of blues, purples, greens, yellows, and oranges was the best background, both spiritually and aesthetically, for the Ark. The result is stunning and awe-inspiring.

 

The "Tree of Life"   

Art-Tree Of LifeThe 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.
 
 
 
 

The Ceiling   

Art - CeilingThe 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. 
 

The Inscriptions on the Wall

ScriptSuzi Derzon and Rabbi Shapiro selected the inscriptions that flank the wall, carved in bronze letters. The inscription on the wall to the left is from the Talmud and reads "Know before Whom you Stand." The inscription on the wall to the right 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.
 
 

The Tallit on the Wall  

tiesThe 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. 

 

 

The Wall

PlaquesAlso 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. 

 

 

 

 

 
 

The Door Handles 

Art - HandlesThe 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.


 

 

 

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