Nearly 20 outstanding artists have been commissioned to create original artwork for Achduth Vesholom Congregation since the move to this building in 1960. The collection has been guided from the beginning by Betty Fishman, a member of the congregation and a lifelong artist and arts advocate.
The first three artists were chosen when the Temple was designed and were exhibitors in a Religious Art Show at the Contemporary Craft Museum in New York City. Later many more works by talented local artists were added to the collection.
Ludwig Wolpert, Jewish Museum Studio in New York City – Hebrew letters representing the Ten Commandments cast in bronze mounted on the 31 foot win tablets cut of granite.
Russell Oettel, Fort Wayne – Menorah cast in bronze.
Nancy McCroskey, Fort Wayne – Holocaust Memorial in entryway. Ceramic tower of clay containing handprints of members of congregation, names of 85 Holocaust victims who had relatives in Fort Wayne, and slashes of barbed wire. Find out more.
Ruthellen Stark, Fort Wayne – Tree of Life needlework with leaves commemorating joyous occasions of congregants’ lives.
Zachary Oxman, Bethesda, MD – Sculpted bronze Chanukah menorah similar to one in the permanent collection of American crafts at the White House.
Thomas Fuhrman, Fort Wayne – Kenyunim (Sustainers in Hebrew) glass wall sculpture incorporating names of congregational donors.
Ludwig Wolpert, Bezalel School of Art in Jerusalem and Jewish Museum Studio in New York City - Bronze Seven Branched Menorah like one Wolpert exhibited at the International Festival of Art in 1958 and Bronze Ner Tamid (Eternal Light) which burns day and night symbolizing God’s everpresence.
Sam Weiner, Jr., Columbia University, New York City – Wool Hanging with silk appliqués, serving as a curtain to the Ark of the Covenant. Against the background of twelve squares and rectangles representing the banners of the Twelve Tribes of ancient Israel are the mystic flames of the Burning Bush which would not be consumed, leaping high in the air to form the four-letter name of God in Hebrew.
Efrem Weitzman, New York City – Purple mantles or covers for the Scrolls of the Torah with designs depicting teachings of the Five Books of Moses.
Sam Weiner, Jr. – Nine windows in stained glass depicting the history of the Jewish People from biblical times through the Diaspora, the Greco-Roman period, the Spanish, Western European, Eastern European, the Holocaust, the emergence of the State of Israel, and the American story.
Les Motz, Fort Wayne – Metal floral containers representing the Ten Commandments.
Betty Fishman, Fort Wayne – The Hallway of History timeline depicting the history of the Jewish People on one wall with the corresponding history of world events on the opposite wall.
Rabbi Jonathan R. Katz, Temple’s 39th rabbi – Arrayed like an open Torah scroll, congregation’s history panels designed as a tribute to its rich heritage as the oldest Jewish congregation in Indiana and charter member of the Union for Reform Judaism.
Ruthellen Stark, Fort Wayne – Curtain panels adorned in needlework with “Mine House Shall Be a House of Prayer for All People” in Hebrew and English.
Bruce Powell, Fort Wayne – Eternal Light, Ark holding Torah, Sabbath candle table, and cabinetry in wood (Cabinetry finished by Jeff Worthman when Powell, a master woodworker, moved from Fort Wayne).
Betty Powell, Fort Wayne – Woven curtain for Ark Interior.
Roxie McGee, Fort Wayne – Pillow-like woven wall pieces depicting biblical references to justice, prayer and repentance, praise, study, sanctification, deliverance, peace, forgiveness, creation, divine presence, blessings, and rejoicing.
Tina Reidel and Bruce Powell, Fort Wayne – Reworked antique glass hangings from portions of stained glass windows from the former temple at Fairfield and Wayne Streets.
Art Cislo, Fort Wayne – Four bas-relief panels interpreting the story of Joseph and His Brothers as described in the Book of Genesis.
Rick Cartwright, Fort Wayne – “From Generation to Generation” three-dimensional wall piece featuring seven branch menorah.
Carol Tosconi, Fort Wayne – “And You Shall Be A Blessing” quilted wall hanging with Stars of David commemorating joyous occasions of congregants’ lives.