What an absolute treat! Our group of nine met at the synagogue located in Elkins Park at 10:00AM, and was greeted by a docent (Al) from the congregation. Not only did we have a wonderful building with historical and religious significance to visit, but Al was extremely knowledgeable its history. First he showed a brief film and afterward for the next 30 to 45 mins relayed stories of the architectual - religious collaborative effort that took place and resulted in the successful construction of the site.
Frank Lloyd Wright in conjunction with Rabbi Mortimer J. Cohen, an obvious visionary himself, conceptualized, designed, and constructed an "American synagogue" specifially with the American Jewish community in mind.Other than the Star of David recessed lighting, dozens of which appear throughout the halls and foyers, Wright did not design any other religious symbol into the structure. However, as Al pointed out to us Rabbi Cohen took various details within the design and connected them to faith-based parables.
There were several examples of these connections; the one I enjoyed the most was about the magnificent multi-colored chandelier which hangs from the center of the "tent" structure. Rabbi Cohen told the parishoners how the Kabbalists said the face of God is symbolized by pure white light into which no
one is permitted to look directly. In the design of the chandelier are colors representing wisdom, insight, understanding, beauty, strength, courage, justice, and mercy and loving kindness. All of the colors together make white thus when looking up at the chandelier God is revealing himself to man indirectly. This type of detail and its correlation to the Jewish faith made for a very interesting tour.... not to mention the architectural beauty.
After the tour a group of us met for lunch at the West Ave Grille just down the road a piece. and a great recommendation by the staff at Beth Sholom with very enjoyable and reasonably priced food selections.
Thanks to everyone for sharing the experience with me. I've wanted to visit this site since moving to PA several years ago. AND there has even been some chatter about visiting the Fallingwater Frank Lloyd Wright structure too... stay tuned 😉
Trip Leader Jean McKenna
Attendees: Bill Stroup, Sue Rachlin, Jocelyn Canfield
Images by Bill Stroup:
Images by Jocelyn Canfield:
Images by Susan Rachlin:
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