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The Wally Sampson Memorial Lobby

The Wally Sampson Memorial Lobby
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Named in memory of our beloved third president and a major force in the building of this structure, the cylindrical shaped lobby welcomes visitors for services and special occasions. It houses six 17-foot stained glass windows created by famed artist Mordechai Rosenstein of Philadelphia. Each panel celebrates the holidays of the Jewish Year from Shabbat and Rosh Hashanah to Tisha B’Av. Lodged in the recesses between the windows are the cases of the Nathan Family Museum housing artifacts from our Judaica collection. This beautiful backdrop is part of an ideal setting for small gatherings as well as serving as a pre-function area for parties and receptions.

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The Carole and Henry Frank Interfaith Garden

The Carole and Henry Frank Interfaith Garden
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Just to the right of the beautiful Sampson Lobby is The Carole & Henry Frank Interfaith Garden. A tiered garden planted on a hillside overlooking the north side of the building with a beautiful rock bed fountain surrounds a brick patio that serves as the perfect venue for outdoor services and celebrations. The west end of the patio includes a magnificent wedding wall with chuppah by famed artist and craftsperson Elizabeth MacDonald. This garden reflects our understanding of the biblical phrase “My house shall be a house of prayer for all peoples.” Plaques on the wall of this garden memorialize our members’ loved ones who are not of the Jewish faith.

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The Dave and Joyce Sakwa Family Sanctuary

The Dave and Joyce Sakwa Family Sanctuary
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Located just past our information center and offices, one comes upon our Sanctuary with its distinctive skylight dome created to cast a halo of light during our morning services throughout the entire Sanctuary area, and to serve as a beacon to the outside world during our evening services. The Rose Rontal stained glass window and the Fineman tapestry, designed by world renowned artist Gerhard Knodel, sits above the distinctive ark fashioned out of unique grains and types of wood which have been harvested from the four corners of the earth. The tapestry-window combination is intended to represent our mystical tradition. The thread of the tapestry is tied into the same knots as the tzitzit on a Tallis, and when tied in such a fashion reflects light. The fifteen pockets of the tapestry contain the words of fifteen different psalms, each written on glass then broken into shards. These psalms were chosen they speak of the world, as it should be; the world that is depicted in the stained glass behind it — a world that is whole and unified. Symbolizing that our mission is to repair the world (called Tikkun Olam, by the Mystics), the broken pieces remind us of the need to work to realize the psalmist’s dream.

The Sanctuary itself is both expandable and contractible. Shaped in the form of an amphitheatre, it seats 200 on the floor and an additional 175 in the stepped aisles that lead to the second level. This design was conceived so that no matter how small or big the congregation may be it will always have a warm and close-knit feeling. Surrounding the sanctuary, and separated during the normative year are seven tiered classrooms. These rooms serve as a balcony during large services and can open individually onto the sanctuary when needed. We have created this look for two different reasons: first, to make the statement our learning is part of our mission and part of our prayer as well. Secondly, to make a philosophical statement that space, (like people), must be multidimensional and meaningful more than just once or twice a year.

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The Andrew Foltyn Social Hall

The Andrew Foltyn Social Hall
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Behind the Sanctuary is our Andrew Foltyn Social Hall. This beautiful space which also surrounds and opens up into our Sanctuary provides us over one thousand two hundred additional seats for the High Holy Days. During the year it can accommodate over 300 guests for parties and receptions. As mentioned before, this room fulfilled the third purpose of a synagogue in Jewish tradition — it is the house of meeting that connects to the house of prayer and the house of learning both literally and figuratively.

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Hall of Memories

Hall of Memories
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Connecting the main lobby and school wings together is our Hall of Memories. This winding passageway holds our memorial plaques as well as a Geneza. A Geneza in ancient tradition served as a storehouse of discarded books. According to Jewish Law, books with holy writing in them as well as other objects considered holy but no longer usable could not be thrown away but rather buried with honor. Our Geneza serves as such an area.

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The Gaynor Family Chapel and Library

As the people of Israel are a People of the Book, we have combined the two major areas of study and prayer into one with this particular space. Located on the second floor, the Gaynor Family Chapel and Library also serves as a meeting room for our Board of Directors and other committees.

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