Closter, New Jersey
In the beginning, there was a beautiful octagonally shaped daily chapel in a synagogue in suburban New Jersey. Light filled the space from above. The congregation was interested in enhancing the space by installing stained glass windows and sought out Nancy Katz/Wilmark Studios. Drawing upon her background as a textile artist and taking note of the grid work created by the mullions on the existing windows, Nancy initially envisioned a weave enveloping the room. She liked the metaphor— each strand would represent a different component of Judaism and Jewish life, but it was felt that a weave would not provide enough content for the synagogue community. After some significant brainstorming, it was decided that the Creation story should be worked on as a theme. The six days of creation and Shabbat would cover seven of the eight window groupings, leaving just one wall unaccounted for. Rabbi Kirshner suggested that the windows over the ark celebrate the Jewish People. Nancy didn’t have to let go of her vision of a weave; it served as a solid foundation on which to tell the Creation story. She created a visual language that was juxtaposed onto the weave, with the weave itself illustrating subtle nuances and rhythms of the biblical text. What an honor it was to work with text translated by our dear friend Professor Everett Fox and with a synagogue community who entrusted us with their magnificent space. It was very, very good. Read Everett Fox’s comments on this installation. Read his translation of Genesis 1:1-2:4a See our notes on his translation.