December 6, 2022 ()

Our Sanctuary

The Leon Adler Sanctuary, named in memory of our first Rabbi, has won national recognition, with its large windows opening onto natural surroundings and the embodiment of its theme, the ancient image of the Tree of Life, the metaphor for Torah.

The Tree of Life Sculpture
Artist: Michael Semsch

The Tree of Life ark was designed and carved by Michael Semsch from planks of Maryland tulip poplars. It’s form was inspired by the Banyan Tree, which can live for more than 1,000 years and sends off shoots from its branches which become rooted in the ground. We see it as a metaphor for our faith, which will sustain us and our children in a challenging world.

The Shabbat Root
Artist: Michael Semsch

This sculpture serves as a root for the Tree of Life, as we must make Shabbat a religious foundation in our lives.

The Havdalah Root
Artist: Michael Semsch

This sculpture houses the wine, spice box, and woven candle for the Havdalah ceremony, which marks the end of Shabbat.

The Ark Stitchery
Master Artist: Joan Koslan-Schwartz

Twenty-five verses are stitched on the ark – both inside and out. Future generations will learn from these verses which reflect our history and vision.

The Wall Menorah
Artist: Cynthia Barber

Wildflowers, grasses, and plants are cast into the metal of this ancient symbol, reminding us of the oficinal inspiration for the menorah, the moriah plant.

The Fused Glass Windows
Artist: Barney Zeitz

The four windows adjacent to the ark reflect an image of Sinai, the site of the revelation of the Torah. The blue alludes to the earth’s first waters. The window on the left is reminiscent of the nature in both Israel and our own DC Metropolitan home. The window to the right evokes memories of the Holocaust.

The Eternal Light
Artist: Cynthia Barber

The Ner Tamid – eternal light – is in the shape of a bird’s nest. A mystical tradition tells of a dove that makes its nest by the palace of the Messiah. Our Ner Tamid is solar-powered, in keeping with our commitment to preserving the Earth’s resources. Solores, a solar power company in Frederick, Maryland, designed and donated the solar unit.

The Wall of Remembrance

Made of indigenous stone from a local quarry, the wall recalls the Western Wall of the ancient Temple in Jerusalem.