The Freda and Jackie Proler Chapel was designed by Texas architect Clovis Heimsath in 1975. Its hexagonal shape replicates the inside of the Star of David. The lights in the ceiling produce the shape in a continuous pattern throughout the room.
As you face the pulpit, to the right you see a seven branched menorah. In the center of the pulpit is the Ark, made of two pieces that can be fitted together as a triangle or as a Star of David. The etching in the doors represents the Ten Commandments.
The Torah in the Chapel is on loan from the Westminster Memorial Scrolls. It is of Egyptian origin and was rescued from Czechoslovakia after World War II. Unlike the scrolls in the Sanctuary, this one is estimated to be over 200 years old.
Above the Ark is the Eternal Light in a crown shape. To the left of the Ark is an unusual feature which ties together the themes of the pulpit and stained glass windows. The shape of the letters depicts a flame, reminiscent of the burning bush. The letters spell out BayomHahu (on that day), a phrase that rings out through the Biblical prophets, foretelling the fulfillment of the messianic hope when the world will be one and when all humanity will worship God.
Stained Glass Doors
The stained glass doors and Windows were commissioned for the Chapel and designed by well-known artist Bob Rambusch.
Standing in the middle of the room, the doors closed to the main entry reflect:
- Congregation Emanu El (right)
- Altneuschul in Prague (top left) - a museum of Jewish life in a once great community
- Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island (bottom left) - one of the oldest houses of worship in America; now a national shrine.
The doors closed to the pulpit reflect:
- The Temple of Herod (top right)
- The Wooden Synagogue in Poland (bottom right)- once the heartland of European Jewry
- Isaac Mayer Wise Synagogue on Plum Street in Cincinnati (top left)
- Bas relief of the Wheeled Ark of the Law at the synagogue in Capernaum, Israel (bottom left)
Stained Glass Windows
The second window depicts SukkatShlomecha (the Tabernacle of Thy Peace), a symbol of God’s care for all mankind.The window closest to the pulpit suggests the breast plate of the high priest who served in the Temple in Jerusalem. Different jewels represent the 12 Tribes of Israel. The vision was the day when klalYisrael (all of the people Israel), would be reunited in the Holy Land and all people would come saying, Let us go up to the House of the Lord…that He may teach of His ways.The stained glass windows, designed by Artist Bob Rambusch, explore the messianic theme.
The third window is based on the verse in Psalms I will lift up the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord. This verse is used in the Passover Seder as a prayer that the salvation from Egypt long ago be repeated for all mankind in days to come.
The fourth window depicts the Shofar (ram’s horn) spoken of in Isaiah which will herald redemption. The Bible says, beseech God to sound the great Shofar of our freedom…Isaiah 27:13.
Robert I. Kahn Art Gallery
The Robert I. Kahn Gallery, also designed by Clovis Heimsath, was added to the building when the Chapel was built in 1975. In an effort to enrich the lives of all who enter Emanu El, the Robert I. Kahn Gallery was conceived as a showcase for the creativity of artists inspired by the Bible, Judaic teachings and social commentaries. We have an extensive permanent collection and from time to time host special exhibitions to which the congregation and community are invited.
The Holocaust Memorial in the North Foyer was commissioned by the congregation and designed by internationally known artist Laurie Gross. Dedicated in March, 1988, the memorial is a testament that we survive…..that the tradition remains strong and lasting. The fragility of the torn cloth reminds us of those whose lives were torn, but the knots show that out of the fragments, we can create anew. The eighteen (a number signifying life in Jewish tradition) tallit figures in the background will forever be a reminder of the strength and survival of our tradition. They will act as witnesses, reminding us of the beauty of our heritage and culture, and the will to survive.