cast bronze, copper,
Temple Beth Elohim Wellesley, Mass
Created for the sunlit lobby of newly built Temple Beth Elohim, this sculpture welcomes visitors with a vision of blossoms in spring. Building design by William Rawn and Associates.
A burst of ethereal blossoms cascades from the sky light into the atrium, greeting visitors as they enter the new Jewish Temple, and welcoming them into the sanctuary. Temple Beth Elohim's atrium is the first interior space as one enters into the synagogue. It is the nexus from which all the integral tenets of the sacred community radiate and return.
Welcoming and Warmth
The sculpture encapsulates the principle of huddur mitzvah, which means sacred beautification as an expression of hope in the future. Blossoms are exuberant, beautiful examples of the poetry of life. Jubilee evokes themes of gratitude for the sun and rain and other cosmic blessings in Nature. Delicate though they may be, flowers are also essential to the life cycle of even the most rugged tree as it produces its tender, seed-bearing fruit.
A tangible expression of the vital discourse between physical place and the innermost, spiritual interior of the congregation. It bridges this dynamic tension but also is a focal point, drawing visitors into the space, and communicating the message of a community rich with opportunity for engagement.
Connections to Isreal and Nature
Jubilee is based on the almond blossom, which holds great meaning in Judaism. There are two Hebrew words for almond, the first translated to "hastened awakening." This aptly describes the almond tree, whose delicate but profuse flowers appeared in ancient Palestine in January. Arriving so early in the season, the blossoms symbolize the process of creation. The second word for almond is found in Genesis, referring to the place where Jacob had his dream. Thus, the almond blossom is a reminder of beginnings, history, and founding families.
Execution and Intimacy
Wrought from cast bronze, copper, and hand-dyed natural fibers and dramatically suspended from the atrium's upper story, Jubilee, is a symbol of hope, a suspended flower that aims to elicit the best from all of us, by encouraging us to pay attention, to start anew, to create, to care for others, and to engage.