The Milstein Sanctuary was dedicated during Hanukkah 2000. It is designed to surround the worshipper with light and with the words that create worlds.
The Sanctuary's design makes the service accessible to each of us in many ways. While the bimah is relatively low, the eye is directed upward to the Ark where the Torah scrolls containing our sacred texts are housed.
The Cantor's lectern is located on the same level as the pews, so that worship may come from within the congregation.
A private ramp permits dignified handicapped access to the bimah, and there is a sound-enhancement system with headsets for the hearing impaired.
Our Sanctuary is surrounded by stained glass windows, which were designed especially for our space. The words of Torah in illuminated glass on the windows color, but do not block, our view of the world of nature outside.
They convey an idea central to Judaism: that words create worlds. It is particularly appropriate to remind ourselves of this creative power of words in a place of prayer, because when we pray we use words to repair our inner worlds. These words on the windows remind us also that we are here to listen to words that will inspire the repair of the outer world.
THE ARK: Together our stained glass windows point toward the Ark, the repository of our most sacred words. Directly over the Ark is an inscription from Psalm 36:
Be-orekha nireh (Hebrew) or
By Your light do we see light.
High up over the Ark is the Hebrew inscription from Exodus 25, the words of God to Moses when the Israelites were preparing to build the very first Sanctuary:
V'asu li mikdash ve-shakhanti be-tokham (Hebrew) or
Let them build Me a sacred space, that I may dwell among them.
The ner tamid (the eternal light) that hangs above the Ark is an adaptation of the design of one found in a nineteenth-century synagogue in Bombay, India.
On either side of the bimah are menorahs that were designed for our prior sanctuary by the late Ludwig Yehuda Wolpert, former director of the Tobe Pascher Workshop at the Jewish Museum in New York.
The pews were made to our design at Kibbutz Lavi, a traditional Israeli kibbutz.