Holocaust Memorial
The Holocaust Memorial sculpture in front of the Temple by Artist Nancy McCroskey seeks to communicate the horror of the Holocaust, the endurance of the Jewish people, and the need to remember.

The memorial, in the form of a wall, was inspired by photographs of old synagogues and the Western Wall in Jerusalem. It suggests an account of the historical persecution of the Jewish people throughout the ages. The need to remember the past, which is a central value of Judaism, is reflected in the Hebrew word zachor (remember), which is worked into the clay.

The wall is in the form of two trapezoidal masses giving a feeling of growth and stability. These masses unite around an interior space representing the union of spirit and matter. There are demarcations signifying the 12 tribes of Israel. The handprints against barbed wire are those of Temple members and their children - linking them to past generaitons. The handprints express the anguish and suffering of the martyred millions, yet seem to reach out to us in hope.

The names of the victims of the Holocaust who were related to members of the Fort Wayne Jewish community are inscribed on both sides of the memorial. Also inscribed is "Those who had the courage to care," along with the name of Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who saved thousands of Hungarian Jews and whose fate is unknown. Find out more about artwork at the Temple.
Tour Our Building

Let's start the tour with our Biblical Garden, in front of the building.
The lush greenery here brings together nature and the Bible in a way that can be appreciated by people of all religions. With its tribute to the many plants of the Bible, the garden was the first of its kind in the Midwest when planted in 1979.
The permanent interfaith project and educational tool was undertaken by the Temple Sisterhood. Through the years, the types of plants have changed as gardeners learned what specimens would best adapt to the Indiana climate. Included are ivy, myrtle, lilies, tulips, hyacinths, poppies, lavender, wormwood, boxwood, thyme, crocus, moss roses, and pear, fig, apricot, apple and stone pine trees.
The highlight of the garden is the sweeping menorah adorning the Temple's outside wall. It uses the espalier technique to encourage the apricot tree in the shape of the traditional candelabra.
As you leave the garden and prepare to enter the building, you'll see our Holocaust Memorial on your left. The sculpture by Fort Wayne artist Nancy McCroskey seeks to communicate the horror of the Holocaust, the endurance of the Jewish people and the need to remember.
This memorial, in the form of a wall, was inspired by photographs of old synagogues and the Western Wall in Jerusalem. It suggests an account of the historical persecution of the Jewish people throughout the ages. The need to remember the past, which is a central value of Judaism, is reflected in the Hebrew word z'chor -- remember -- which is worked into the clay.
The wall is in the form of two trapezoidal masses giving a feeling of growth and stability. These masses unite around an interior space representing the union of spirit and matter. There are demarcations signifying the 12 tribes of Israel. The hand prints against barbed wire are those of Temple members and their children -- linking them to past generations. The handprints express the anguish and suffering of the martyred millions, yet seem to reach out to us in hope.
The names of victims of the Holocaust who were related to members of the Fort Wayne Jewish community are inscribed on both sides of the memorial. Also inscribed is "Those who had the courage to care," along with the name of Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who saved thousands of Hungarian Jews and whose fate is unknown.
As we enter the building, the Temple office is on the right and straight ahead is the main area of worship, the Sanctuary.
The pulpit extends across the entire length of the Sanctuary, with a lectern on the left for sermons and lectures, and an altar on the right side for services and scriptures. The focal point on the pulpit is the Ark, which contains the sacred scrolls of the Torah, the five books of Moses.
The Ark is flanked by two five-and-one-half-foot by 17-foot- high marble pylons. Over one of them hangs suspended the Ner Tamid, the eternal light, which burns continuously day and night as a symbol of God's everpresence as set forth in the Bible. It is the work of world-renowned artist and metal-craftsman Ludwig Wolpert, formerly of the Bezalel School of Art in Jerusalem and the Jewish Museum in New York City. Out of the Ner Tamid's soft steady light emerge seven tongues of flame in bronze -- recalling the first seven days of Creation.
At the foot of the other marble pylon stands the seven- branched candelabrum mentioned in the Bible -- the menorah -- that is lit during services. Our bronze menorah is the second of two of the same design by Wolpert. The other was exhibited at the International Festival of Art in 1958 and described by Frank Lloyd Wright as "a perfection of form, material and function, blended simply into a perfect whole." (Wolpert also designed the bronze letters on the Temple's exterior.)
The Ark is covered by an overhanging wool curtain with silk appliques. The 15-foot-high structure is electrically controlled from the altar, lectern and Ark. The curtain has been designed for the Temple by Samuel Weiner Jr., an American Jewish artist. The colorful background of 12 squares and rectangles represents the banners of the 12 Tribes of ancient Israel. Weiner has depicted the mystic flames of the Burning Bush leaping high into the air to form the four-letter name of God in Hebrew - Yud-Hay-Vov-Hay -- "Adonai-Lord."
Inside the Ark are five Torah scrolls of varying sizes. The texts are the same, but each was written in a different time and came from a different country. The tallest Torah is the oldest, having come from Germany, and had been used prior to 1848. Each Scroll is written in ancient Hebrew by hand on parchment. The most unusual Torah is the Holocaust Torah. (See related item.)
 
Over the sacred Scrolls are the tablets of the Ten Commandments, with the Hebrew of each commandment carved in wood. The light of the "Ner Tamid" falls softly upon them as a symbol that God makes His will known unto the people of Israel and all humanity through the Ten Commandments that are the spiritual focus of the Torah.
 
The stained glass windows in the Sanctuary depict the epic of the Jewish people, each representing a period from biblical days to the present. (See related item.)

 
Holocaust Torah Scroll

Holocaust Memorial Scroll

In early June 1997, after several months of exploration, a call was placed to London, England. Within the first few moments of that call to the Czech Memorial Scrolls Trust at the Westminster Synagogue, it was made clear that the Temple was ready to assume the responsibility of having a memorial scroll on permanent loan...a condition of guardianship. We were cautioned that all undamaged Torahs had been released much earlier world-wide, and that the Temple would be receiving a badly damaged scroll: Torah #1172.

Five days later, the Torah was delivered to Achduth Vesholom by a member of the congregation who had volunteered to retrieve it from London. As the 300-year-old parchment was gently unrolled to its full length, its devastation became increasingly obvious. Indeed, before us lay a broken piece of history.

Three books were missing. Of the two remaining--Deuteronomy and Numbers--only parts were readable.  Fire and water damage bore testimony to the horror to which that Torah had been a silent witness.

As the Temple was in process of commissioning a Torah to commemorate the congregation's 150th anniversary, an idea was placed before Dr. Eric E.L. Ray, the master scribe who had been hired for this project. After critical examination by Dr. Ray, we were advised that our devastatingly crippled treasure could be restored--its destroyed sections rewritten and the new pages interspersed among the old--to become a living link to the past...a poignant symbol of the indestructibility of our people .

On Sunday, October 11, 1998--nearly one year after the task was begun--the Torah was completed in the Temple's sanctuary and presented to the congregation by Dr. Ray. On Simchat Torah, the scroll was unrolled around the perimeter of sanctuary and, having risen from the darkest period in Jewish history, once again enfolded those celebrating its origins. On Saturday, October 17, 1998...the Shabbat morning celebrating the 150th anniversary of our congregation...Torah #1172 was read for the first time in its new home.

Stained Glass Windows

 

 

The stained glass windows in the Sanctuary depict the epic of the Jewish People, each representing a period from biblical days to the present. The basic theme was projected by the late Rabbi Frederic Doppelt of this congregation and the creative work of Samuel Wiener Jr. of Columbia University.
 
Biblical World - The window represents the historical and spiritual experiences of the Jewish people over nearly 2,000 years. In telling of their flight from bondage, symbols show the crossing of the Red Sea, encampment on Mount Sinai, the receiving of the Ten Commandments and the shielding by a cloud by day and being guided by a pillar of fire at night. The Promised Land is indicated by the land of blue and white.
Diaspora World - The second window represents the collapse of the Biblical World and the beginning of the Diaspora, directing the destiny of the Jewish people for the next 2,000 years. Dispersion from ancient Judea began with the Babylonian exile and the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans in the year 70 of the common era. The world of the Diaspora extended to the four corners of the earth, which is depicted by three symbols: A compass in the center of the window pointing north, south, east and west; streams of color and diagonal lines radiating in all directions; four blocks of dark grey stained glass set in the four corners.
 
Greco-Roman World -- The third window with massive blocks of dark purple and somber shades represents the precarious life of the Jewish people in the harsh Roman world. Captives from Judea were pitted against armored gladiators and thrown to wild beasts for sport. The Arch of Titus, which was erected by the Roman Senate to celebrate and commemorate his victory over Judea, is in the center of the window. Also represented is the seven-branched oil lamp of solid gold, which Titus had plundered from the Temple of Jerusalem. The menorah was borne by Judean captives in the triumphal procession of Titus upon his return to Rome. It is engraved in the Arch signifying conquest and destruction of the Jewish people. However, at the very top of the window is the shofar depicting salvation and liberation.
Spanish-Sephardic World - The miraculous revival of the Jewish people is shown in this window. When the Roman Empire fell, large numbers of Jews found haven in Spain. As the colors indicate, this was a bright and brilliant period in Jewish history. For hundreds of years, especially in the halcyon days of Islamic culture, the Jewish people enjoyed a large measure of liberty and prosperity. This was a time of the flowering of genius and talent. Some of the greatest of Jewish philosophers, scientists, physicians, scholars, writers and poets lived. This list includes Maimonides, Jehuda Halevi and Solomon Ibn Gabriol. The dark designs on the window predict the dark days to come, leading to the Spanish Inquisition and the Expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492.
 
Western European World -- The world of Western Europe in the fifth window becomes the center of Jewish life and thought. In Holland, England, France and Germany, Jewish communities and cultural institutions achieved some measure of social emancipation. However, the solid column of purple symbolizes persistent discrimination and persecution. Striving against it is a shaft of light, a symbol of the light of reason which began to penetrate into some areas of Western Europe with the rise of the modern epoch in history. Modern philosophy and science clash with medieval bigotry and superstition. There is a cry of "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity," lifting the hearts and hopes of all downtrodden and disinherited. The tri-color of blue, white and red sweeping across the center of the window speaks of triumph of enlightenment, toleration and freedom. This gave rise to Reform Judaism in the Western European world.
The American World -- The final window tells the exciting story of red, white and blue -- the American story that has changed and advanced the course of the Jewish people. This nation opened up new frontiers for all peoples -- the hunted and the hungry, the persecuted and the disinherited, the dreamers and builders of higher humanity. The torch is sunk in dark purple because freedom and opportunities emerged only after suffering and sacrifice. Even now prejudices still exist, represented by somber blocks with black strips across them. The flames of red, white and blue still are certain and steady, pushing against the walls of the window to shed their light into the life of men and women everywhere. More than five million Jewish people share their Americanism with those of other religions and philosophies.