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The Dedication of the Hart Windows

The Hart Windows, dedicated May 10, 2002, are the gift of Dr. Beatrice Loewenherz, Z''L, in memory of her late husband, Walter, and family. They were created by nationally acclaimed Chicago artist Charlotte Hart, and fashioned by Ms. Hart at the Botti Studio in Chicago.

Excerpts from artist Charlotte Hart's description of the windows follow:

These windows are original designs and represent classic rabbinic concepts about what is essential to the continued survival of the world. "Shimon the Righteous used to say: The world stands on three things; Torah study, prayer and acts ofloving-kindness" (Pirkei Avot 1:2). "Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel says: The world endures on three things- justice, truth, and peace " (Pirkei Avot 1:18). There are close to five hundred pieces of hand made glass in each window and they took a year and a half to complete.

Torah and Justice

Here is the sea, close to the congregation of Bat Yam. The sea is choppy as life is often rough. The three boats on the right represent Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The three boats on the left, with correspondingly colored sails, are Sarah, Rebecca, and the double masted boat: Leah and Rachel. The boats are like balanced weighing scales. Here is the navigation of turbulence through the study of law and the dispensation of justice. The Jewish people have studied the Torah to know how to live within law and behave justly in the world. The study of Torah is also the understanding of identity and heritage. The sides of the open scroll infer the double helix. Today we seek the answers to laws of our physical being in the study of the human genome. The celebration of our drawing near to the heritage of our past, the knowledge of the future and the laws that tie this present moment to both are intimately bound to what is holy ... Like the blue thread woven through a prayer shawl, the voice singing the Sh 'ma declares the presence of holiness as it vibrates in the translation of Hebrew to its visual presence, treble and base, through the center of the open scroll... Above the open Torah scroll is the Hebrew letter "shin" ... the first letter in the Hebrew word "Shaddai" [a Divine Name] which translates to "Mighty."

Prayer and Truth

The Jewish people have been called "the people of the book." In the window they seem to rise up from the open book. .. The people ... sing a service to God. These people in silhouette are a visual extension of the people in the Sanctuary of Bat Yam. Light surrounds the congregation: window light, the light of their joyful spirit, the light of truth ... In ancient times, to pray meant to offer a perfect animal as a sacrifice to God. The circle with a ram's hom within is a remembrance of those ancient yearnings to connect with holiness. The ram's hom is sounded on holy days to confront the truth of our actions. In 70 CE, the rabbis substituted prayer, repentance and acts of charity for animal sacrifice. When one truly prays or repents, or is charitable, they are transformed as is the world. The woman tuming in the window represents Bat Yam drawing near to making the world a better place. The geometric shapes emanating from the open book are ancient musical signs. Bar and Bat Mitzvah students learn to sing their Torah and Haftarah portions using these signs. This stained glass window has its own melody ... The baby in its mother's arms looks out of the window of prayer and truth toward the window of lovingkindness and peace ...

Loving-kindness and Peace

Loving-kindness pushes the limits of our understanding. The colors swirl past limitations represented by the vertical and horizontal lines within the window showing the weakness of limits we impose on love ... Loving-kindness is full of color. These colors are our thoughts and feelings made manifest. The colors of the sea and sky, our shadows and our songs, our laws and our prayers are emanating into the world. The rabbis have said that our reason for living is "L'taken olam" (to repair the world). The world is full of broken things, like broken glass, shattered dreams, poor health, hopelessness; and, all call for repair. This window envisions the repair of the world. In the window, symbolically, the broken pieces of life find wholeness and are restored to beauty. In the center of the window is an intertwined Mobious strip in the shape of the Star of David. A Mobious strip is an enclosure that has only one side as peace has no sides and no wars. The core of our laws, justice, prayers, our understanding of truth and our loving-kindness is hope for peace.

Mon, July 15 2024 9 Tammuz 5784