Including the Broken

Terumah By :  Tobi Kahn Artist-in-Residence, JTS Posted On Feb 12, 2016 / 5776 | דבר אחר | A Different Perspective

Credit: Stacey David

Arks in contemporary sanctuaries are spiritual descendants of the Ark whose construction and purpose is described in this week’s parashah. The ark above was created for Congregation Ohr Shalom–The Summit Jewish Community Center, in Summit, New Jersey. The congregation’s rabbi, Avi Friedman, writes:

If one looks straight on at the beautiful aron kodesh designed and created for us by Tobi Kahn, one sees two solid, beautiful doors—just like the two Tablets of the Covenant. Take a step to the side, though, and look from an angle and you will see a hint of the Sacred Fragments [the original tablets that were shattered in Exod. 32:19], which were stored in the original Ark together with the second, complete set of Tablets created by Moshe. The inclusion of the Sacred Fragments in Tobi’s design is a constant reminder to us of how the Torah expects us to treat our fellow human beings. At the end of the day, none of us is a perfect tablet—we all have chips, nicks, scratches and cracks. And yet, we all deserve a place in our sacred community.