My favorite space at Temple Emanu-El is our Sanctuary.
Over the past three years, my view of the sanctuary has been drastically different from yours.
My view is…you: the amazing people that make up our congregation; each congregant with real stories, emotions, and connections creating a weave of presence that makes my ‘view’ from the bima quite holy.
But once in a while, I’ll go into the congregation and sit with my family, or a friend, for silent prayer. Sometimes I don’t look down at my prayerbook, but rather, I look up… and see your view. I see the Ner Tamid (everlasting light) of Jacob wrestling with the angel, the twelve tribes that ascend our ark doors, the symbolic flames coming from the Torah brace, and the ‘secret’ Hebrew words spelled out on our podiums. Holding my gaze further still, I see two flags, American and Israeli, like bookmarks of who we are in this moment; and I see the mosaics of the ten commandments shaded in light and dark, with scenes of Moses leading us from slavery to The Promised Land. And that is just the beginning…
The level of context and symbolism is incredible! For most of us, it creates a ‘feeling’ that is woven, like a tapestry, into the prayers that we say, and the space in time that we each find ourselves in our respective lives. Profound.
In honor of Temple Emanu-El’s 40th anniversary, I’ll be teaching a course called ‘Startling Stories of our Sanctuary” about those images, their stories, and their fervent symbolism that calls out to you through the ages. Our time together is meant to enhance your experience in that holy space, to connect you to your Judaism in a profound way, and to help you orient yourself in the miraculous journey of the Jewish people.
Our class will meet in the Sanctuary (for the visuals along with the stories and discussion) the first four Wednesdays of October (Oct 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th).
As always, each class builds on the ones before it, and each class functions as a ‘stand-alone’; meaning, if you can come to some of the classes, but not all, still come because you will get a lot out of it.
In exploring our sanctuary, this course promises to be a powerful avenue of connection.
I look forward to seeing you there!
Shabbat shalom & Hag Sameach Sukhot,