Our synagogue home is a beautiful place which we take great pride in, and where there are particular items of note that we are truly fortunate enough to enjoy.
At Etz Chaim, we are fortunate to have two holocaust Torahs, one from each of the founding congregations, on display for all to see. These Torahs, which are in the main sanctuary and chapel, allow young and old alike to reflect and remember the Shoah.
The drawers of the display case for the holocaust Torah from B’nai Tzedek (located in the main sanctuary) include documentation tracing the story of this Torah as a Holocaust survivor, its discovery and rescue from a vacant Czech synagogue, and events giving it renewal of purposed for teaching and ceremonial functions.
With our marriage came a child,
our precious Sefer Torah MST#6
from Trest, a town in Moravia
where Jews are believed to have
lived since the 15th century.
Unfortunately there were
no survivors from the camps.
However MST#6 is one of the
6 surviving Torah scrolls that
did survive and are a living
testimony of Jewish survival
and the Jews who perished in
the Shoah will never be forgotten.
To learn more about the
Czech Memorial Scrolls Museum
visit their website
In our main sanctuary, we have a beautiful Jewish star in the middle
of the ceiling with a skylight that enables us to see the heavens and
contemplate where we are in the universe.
Another artistic feature in the main sanctuary are the four metal
Torahs on the back wall of bimah, which represent the four primary
locations that Congregation Ohav Shalom called home. These Torahs
each have candle lights on top, and when viewed as a whole, the piece
represents a menorah. In addition, each Torah includes the Gregorian
and Hebrew calendar years for each new Ohav Shalom synagogue.
In our chapel we enjoy both a Ner Tamid
and 10 Commandments that were designed
by a local artist and long-time member of
B’nai Tzedek and now Etz Chaim.
These items were displayed proudly
at B’nai Tzedek before being
relocated to Etz Chaim.
Another beautiful feature of the building is our Jerusalem Hall, which is located in the main lobby between the sanctuary and chapel. The tall ceiling, with natural light and bricks all around, is intended to evoke a feeling of being in Jerusalem, with the stone walls allowing for us to perhaps feel like we’re at the Western Wall. Future plans may include recreating ceiling or wall panels of verses from the Torah, a likeness to the ceiling at the Kugler Mill home of B’nai Tzedek.
As we enjoy the beauty of our synagogue home and the future of our new community, we also honor the history of the respective founding congregations. The display case located in an alcove within the Jerusalem Hall has three sections, which not only allows us to share the histories of B’nai Tzedek and Ohav Shalom, by rotating historical items of note, but also celebrate the short history of our new congregation, Etz Chaim.
Just as in our own homes, we sometimes tend to take certain features for granted, as we are around them so often. Please make sure to appreciate how fortunate we are to have such beauty around us as we pray and attend events at Etz Chaim.