"Despite the common belief that Judaism frowns upon artistic representation, there is a rich tradition down through the ages of stunning synagogue art. From the very first sacred structures mentioned in the Bible—the “Dwelling” (Tabernacle) and Solomon’s Temple—we learn that sacred spaces often were decorated with beautiful natural figures such as palm trees and pomegranates; rich materials of bronze, silver, gold, and even pure gold, along with choice woods; and symbolic objects such as the great bronze “Sea,” possibly reminiscent of the waters at Creation, and the golden lampstand (menorah), a stylized tree, one of the most common and loved images in the ancient world."
"Thus Nancy Katz and Mark Liebowitz’s wondrous windows, despite their modern design, reflect some of the oldest ideas in Jewish worship. And the story they retell, found in the opening chapter of the Bible, could not be more fitting. When Moses at last finishes building the Dwelling at the end of the book of Exodus, the text uses unmistakably uses wording that harks back to the Creation story. The lesson? In creating human sacred space such as the chapel in Temple Emanu-El, we invoke the original Space of the world, the original sacred space, consecrated by God’s “ceasing” the work of creation by the seventh day. The design work of the artists, along with its realization in glass and paint, combined with the ongoing work of prayer and study by the congregation, combine to reflect the divine work of “making” the world, and help to sustain the divine spark in all of us."
"I am honored to have been a part of this particular creative process. As a rule, it is difficult for visual artists to somehow echo the sound patterns on which much of biblical literature is built. But in this case, the artists have managed to capture the recurring motifs and refrains (“God said,” “And it was so,” God saw that it was good,” “There was setting, there was dawning”) that are so important to the text of the Bible’s first Creation story, and which I have tried to reflect in translation. The result, besides the sheer beauty of the windows, is an artistic unity that enables the worshiper to feel the divine order and peace that are at the heart of the narrative. In place of the gargantuan battles between gods and monsters found in most ancient creation stories, we have in these windows an unfolding sense of blessing, culminating in the joyful blessing of Shabbat. May the dance represented there be joyfully danced by many generations of those who come to Temple Emanu-El!"