Friday, February 8, 2008

A green light to stay lit

Claude Riedel has but one page on his website, but it is filled with beautiful ner tamid. "Making Ner Tamids, the eternal light which graces the Bimah and all congregants in the sanctuary, has become a very personal journey for me. The opportunity to create such meaningful pieces of ceremonial art for synagogues across the country allows me to honor my Jewish heritage. As a member of a family that includes survivors of the German Holocaust there is no more powerful symbol for me than the Eternal Light.My pieces combine traditional forms with evocative blown glass. I seek a radiant purity of light which inspires and calms the spirit of the worshipper."

On the eighth day of Chanukah in the time of the Maccabees, the oil had miraculously lasted seven days longer than expected. On the seventh night of Chanukah this year, the members of Congregation B’nai Jeshurun on the Upper West Side installed their own seven-day miracle: a solar-powered ner tamid.
“We see this solar panel as the modern-day equivalent of that oil,” said Gil Kulick, co-chair of the environmental action group at the synagogue. The solar panels will collect and store enough electricity to power the LED light for seven days. The eternal light is believed to be the first of its kind in New York.
Chanukah seemed the perfect time to dedicate the new ner tamid. “[Installing the new ner tamid] shows our commitment to environmental sustainability in a very Jewish and conspicuous way,” Kulick told The Jewish Week. “This will link in people’s minds Chanukah and renewable energy.”

During the event, the congregation lit the Chanukah candles and read verses of Torah and the Psalms related to light, said Rabbi Felicia Sol, one of the shul’s three rabbis. The event also included an environmental expo on sustainable energy, with representatives of Jewish and secular environmental organizations including Hazon, Jewish National Fund, Sierra Club and Bright Power. Read more at the Jewish Week

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