Temple Kol Emeth in East Cobb has launched an initiative, Project Illuminate, to finish its sanctuary by completing the windows above the bimah.
Four of the 10 windows are in place, and a fifth window has been fabricated and is on display in the lobby of the Reform congregation to promote the project.
TKE’s sanctuary was designed to include numbers that are meaningful to the Jewish people. The 10 windows above the bimah represent the Ten Commandments.
The 18 large and colorful stained-glass windows in the sanctuary, nine on either side of the bimah, represent chai (life). Installed about 10 years ago, they depict scenes from the Torah and Jewish history until modern times with a ribbon that ties all the panels together.
The story windows have a connection with the windows above the bimah. The glass of the faces and the hands of the people depicted in the large panels is the same glass the artist is using in the smaller, abstract windows.
There is special meaning behind those 10 windows, recently named the ancestral windows.
“It represents all the different people from our past looking down upon the entire congregation,” said Doug Pisik, who co-chairs the Project Illuminate committee with his wife, Ginger.
The glass artist, Dale Molnar, has a studio in Marietta and is nationally recognized for his glass work in spiritual places such as churches and synagogues. He saved the glass for over 10 years for Kol Emeth to finish the project.
About five years ago TKE was in the process of finding sponsorship for the 10 windows. There were plans to complete all the windows in the sanctuary, but some unforeseen obstacles occurred.
“The windows were originally being made and put in to place and then, during the economic downturn, that pretty much stalled out as other priorities took their place,” Kol Emeth President Henry Hene said. “We are now at a position where we can restart that program.”
Several members of the congregation, including the Pisiks, recently discussed finishing the sanctuary and went to Rabbi Steve Lebow and the board. The result was the Project Illuminate fundraiser.
According to Hene, one window had been purchased in memory of longtime member Jill Suchke but had not been fabricated.
“I had been approached by several congregants on what we had envisioned on when that window would be made available,” Hene said. “I felt like this was the time to do that in honor of and in memory of Jill Suchke.”
The windows above the bimah consist of 81 squares arranged in nine rows and nine columns. The colored squares are purposely arranged randomly so that every window is different but contains similar colors.
The Project Illuminate committee consists of TKE congregants from the board, the ritual committee and the Brotherhood, among other members. There will be a recognition program for the sponsors of Project Illuminate. The Pisiks are in the process of designing that plaque, which will be installed in the sanctuary.
The Pisiks can be contacted for more information about Project Illuminate and about sponsorships at TKEWindows@Bellsouth.net.
Kol Emeth hopes to complete the fundraising for Project Illuminate in four to six months, in time for several major temple events in 2016. There are plans for the project to go forward regardless of how much money is raised.