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Our Sanctuary

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 Each of the twelve stained glass windows in the Kant Sanctuary celebrates a Jewish holiday or commemoration. You may recognize some of the symbols embedded in them by the artist – beginning from the back, left-hand side of the sanctuary and moving clockwise:

Shabbat – The Sabbath, represented by a Kiddush (wine) cup, Challah (a braided loaf of bread), and Sabbath candles. Havdalah – Separation, marking the Sabbath off from the six days of work, represented by a braided Havdalah candle, a spice box, and three stars (the traditional indication of the end of the Sabbath).

Rosh Hashanah – Jewish New Year, represented by apples and grapes for sweetness and abundance; and by the Shofar (“ram’s horn”) sounded to call us to the High Holy Day Season.

Yom Kippur – The Day of Atonement, represented by the Book of Life (in which, by legend, God seals the fate of each worshipper), the Shofar (sounded at the close of the High Holy Day season), and the Closing Gate (portraying the end of the season of repentance).

Sukkot – Festival of Booths, represented by flowers and plants (“a plentiful harvest”), the Sukkah (the type of booth in which, it is said, our ancestors lived in their forty years of wandering; which we build and use today during the holiday of “Booths”), and the Lulav and Etrog (literally “palm branch” and “citron,” which stand for plants grown in the Land of Israel, and which are waved in celebration during this holy day).

Simchat Torah – Rejoicing in the Law, the holiday of completing the Five Books of Moses and beginning anew, represented by a Star of David, the Holy Ark (with its Torah scrolls), and three Torah scrolls.

Chanukah – The Feast of Dedication, represented by the eight-branched Menorah or “candlestick” (for the eight nights of Chanukah), the Dreidel or spinning top (a Chanukah game), and gelt (“money” or “coins,” for the gifts we exchange).

Tu B’Shevat – The Fifteenth of the Month of Shevat, New Year of Trees, represented by trees for this day of planting and celebration.

Purim – The Festival of Lots, celebrating the redemption of the Jews of Persia from persecution, represented by a Megillah or “Scroll” of Esther, a Mordechai’s crown, and a Gragger or “noise maker” (used during the reading of the scroll to blot out the name of Haman, the villain of the story).

Pesach – Passover, the season of Exodus and freedom from slavery in Egypt, represented by the parting of the Sea of Reeds, the Seder plate (used at the Passover dinner called Seder to hold symbols), the cup of Elijah (representing God’s promise to restore Israel to its land), and blood over the door post (representing the Passover sacrifice).

Yom Hashoah – Holocaust Memorial Day, represented by dark tones in the windows etched with barbed wire and eighteen candles of remembrance (because, in Hebrew, the number eighteen stands for the word Chai, meaning “life.”

Yom HaAtzmaut – Israel Independence Day, represented by the flag of the State of Israel, a sunrise over Jerusalem, citrus fruit (for the bounty of the land), and the Star of David.