Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Synagogue's Role

The dominant theme of the Torah portion is the description of the Sanctuary and all its components. The Torah is explicit and exacting, unusually so, in all the specifications. The Sanctuary played a vital role in Jewish history, whether as the mobile Tabernacle in the Wilderness, the Temples in Jerusalem, or the contemporary Synagogue. In view of its importance, the attention it receives is fully warranted.

Many influences helped insure the perpetuation and thriving of Judaism. The school --and Jewish schooling was never meant for children only -- produced scholars and highly literate laymen. The home transmitted skills and developed emotional attachment to Judaism. The very streets exemplified living Judaism, with Shabbat and other evidences of Judaism on every hand. The Synagogue, as house of worship, took its legitimate place in molding Israel's future.

Today however, of all these positive forces, only the Synagogue affords many communities any enlightenment or inspiration. Jewish schooling, with promising exceptions like the Day School, is generally negligible; the typical home has little, even superficially, to identify it as Jewish. In a real sense the Synagogue is a sanctuary, a last stronghold of Judaism, the only place where a Jew can be actively and comfortably Jewish. The Synagogue must fill the void left by de-Judaized homes and ineffectual schools.

If the Synagogue, the source of Judaism today, passively permits non-Jewish influences to blur its uniqueness, if the Synagogue is molded in a non-Jewish form, architecturally and ritually, then American Jewry will imperceptibly blend with its neighbors until it ceases to exist. The specifications of the Sanctuary, the standards of a Jewish house of worship, cannot be too explicit, and in fact are clear enough. The Synagogue above all, must determinedly retain its specifically Jewish characteristics, for nothing less than the very future of American Jewry hangs in the balance. (from Zalman Posner)

While the Synagogue in my opinion can be Jewish and American and it can reflect the time in which we live. We can do that through art and Judaica.

These Torah Mantles come from Shizre Kodesh. Shizre Kodesh was established in 1985 by master weaver Carine Kleiman in the Arts and Crafts Lane, Khutzot Hayozer, Jerusalem, as part of her father, Georges Goldstein's tapestry studio. Carine made Aliyah from Paris, France in 1961 when her father was invited by the Israeli government to set up the first weaving Atelier in the north of the country. From an early age, Carine was surrounded by an atmosphere of Art, Design and weaving and completed her apprenticeship as a Tapestry weaver. Learn about Carine's inspiration by clicking the small photo above.

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