“I felt the wood ark doors should be simple with no embellishment. When opened, the curtain and the Torahs should be the focus. However, the Decalogue is integrated into the doors’ design with five boxed rectangles on each door representing the Ten Commandments,” says Laurel. The Ark’s arched pediment was taken from a historical pediment form used throughout synagogue design.
Ark Pediment and Ner Tamid
Designed with an arch motif – one arch and then another repeating inside each other – the ark curtain signifies that through prayer we can get closer to the Shechinah (divine presence). Design elements in the ark curtain that are repeated throughout Moriah’s interior design include the pomegranate, Seven Species, the golden bells of Aaron’s robe, a scroll motif, jewel and mosaic like colors, pearls, and gold threads.
All the Torah mantles adhere to the same design motifs: pomegranates, rose of Sharon, tendrils, scroll design, pearls, and jewel like applications.
Torah Mantle as it appeared in an early rendering and as it appears today.
The spindles and raised platform are designed to invoke the feeling of great synagogues of old. Laurel remembers that Rabbi Dresner felt strongly about placing the bimah in the middle of the sanctuary, as seen in Sephardic synagogues. The goal was to have an open, interactive atmosphere that would create a sense of community during davening. Moriah’s architect helped bring this vision to life in the plans for the sanctuary.
Eternal Light/Ner Tamid
Of 19th century Dutch origin, the Ner Tamid was a gift from Arthur’s parents, Joseph and Cecelia Feldman. It was completely restored by Arthur’s father, Joseph Feldman.
Detail of Ner Tamid
Mezuzah at Entry to Synagogue
This rare mezuzah is from Eastern Europe, circa 19th century.
In 1993, Laurel was asked to design a Simcha Wall for display outside the main sanctuary. Laurel’s design concept was to use the form of a ketubah to illustrate a contract between Moriah and its members, drawing inspiration from an 18th century Polish ketubah. The iconographic design of the Simcha Wall features symbols from Israel: gazelles, palm leaves, birds and pomegranates in all stages of their growth. It was fabricated by the Great Lakes Foundry and gifted by the Labow Family.
Early rendering of the Simcha Wall by Laurel.
Mural of Jerusalem (Thaler Social Hall)
The mural of Jerusalem that hangs to this day in the Thaler Social Hall was created by Jordan Krimstein (z”l), a renowned watercolor artist and past board member, at the request of Rabbi Dresner (z”l). Jordan took many weeks to complete this magnificent watercolor on canvas depicting a panoramic view of Jerusalem. The mural was formally dedicated in April 1979 at the first Elie Wiesel week-end dinner.
Dedication of the Jordan Krimstein watercolor: April, 1979.