Religions and Spirituality

COS-SJCC Dedicates New Ark

The Ark Dedication committee reveals the magnificent new ark and eternal light at Congregation Ohr Shalom-SJCC.  From left:  Alice Barron, Susan Wallach, Geni Baraff, Susan Shapiro and Richard Barron. Rabbi Avi Friedman stands to the right.
The Ark Dedication committee, from left: Susan Shapiro, Susan Wallach, Geni Baraff, Alice Barron, Richard Barron.  Not pictured:  Karen Wexler.  They are seen standing in front of the ark and eternal light (above the ark) that renowned Judaic artist Tobi Kahn designed and built.

SUMMIT, NJ - In June of 2013, Congregation Ohr Shalom - Summit Jewish Community Center (COS-SJCC) joyfully dedicated its new sanctuary. Since then, the congregation has used a temporary ark -- the holy cabinet in which the Torah scrolls are stored -- and eternal light.

Through the generosity of numerous congregants, COS-SJCC was able to engage renowned Judaic artist, Tobi Kahn, to create a one-of-a-kind design for the doors of the new ark and the new eternal light which hangs above it.  The cabinet was crafted by master cabinetmaker, Al Mosera.
“I’ve never actually been to an ark dedication before,” said Rabbi Avi Friedman as he began to speak at the special dedication event.  In fact, very few of the congregants had celebrated the installation of a new ark before, either.  The ark is modeled after the first Ark that held the tablets of the Ten Commandments which was carried for 40 years in the desert by Moses and the Israelites.  

During the the program, the adult, children’s and toddler’s choirs sang. Cantor Roth sang an original song with its creator, congregant Andrew Hollander. She also sang an original amusing duet with Rabbi Friedman crafted for this special occasion. Richard Barron, the congregant who coordinated and oversaw both the fundraising and the construction of the new sanctuary over a period of ten years, spoke about the vision of the congregation and the joy they feel as the project reaches completion.
Toward the end of the program, a procession of past and current congregational presidents removed the five Torahs from the old ark, and ceremoniously carried them through the sanctuary and placed them in the beautiful new ark.  

Rabbi Friedman concluded his address with a challenge to the congregation:

“Over the last few years, we have been blessed to transform and expand our physical plant. We now have this beautiful space. The question is what will we put in it?  We’ve already started to fill it up with prayer, with study, with celebration, with acts of tzedakah, with comforting mourners and more. If we continue to fill this space with those kinds of sacred acts, then our community will be as beautiful as the Ark we dedicate today.”

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