We renovated our Bimah June through September of 2008.
Our Sanctuary is graced with eight original plastic-glass mosaic windows representing Creation, Revelations, Worship, Redemption, Sukkot/Simchat Torah, Shabbat, High Holy Days, and Passover/Shavuot.
These windows were commissioned by artist Charles Van Atten in 1962. Mr. Van Atten consulted on the design by Rabbi Michael Szenes regarding the Biblical symbolism. The mosaic plastic-glass windows represented a new art form that allowed the observer to enjoy the effects from both sides, this method also made for a very strong and well-insulated window.
Harry and Henry Schaffer (below) donated these windows in memory of their parents Abraham and Annie Schaffer. The windows were dedicated during an open house on Sunday, May 3, 1964, during our 110th Anniversary weekend celebrations.
Our Czech Scroll
We hold in our Holy Ark a precious Sefer Torah which is one of 1,564 Czech Memorial Sifre Torah looted by the Nazis during World War II from the Jewish communities of Bohemia, Moravia, and Slovakia. This Sefer Torah is from the town of Pisek and was written in the middle of the 19th Century. Our special Torah is a memorial to the Jewish Community of Pisek and to all the Jewish martyrs of the Holocaust. This Torah, like others now spread throughout the world, spreads light as a harbinger of the future of Judaism and bears witness to the glory of God.
The Memorial Scrolls Trust, a U.K. non-profit organization, has recently begun to reach out to synagogues and other institutions who received the Czech scrolls to gather updated information about them. they plan to continue to enhance their website so it becomes “a repository of all knowledge concerning the 1564 scrolls, the Jewish history of the towns they came from, the Jews of those towns, their fate, survivors stories, photos, etc. Also where the scrolls are now, how they are used and honored etc.” Read more about the Memorial Scrolls Trust on their website.
Year-Round Torah Covers
Four of our Torahs are dressed in beautiful contemporary-design covers representing Redemption, Gates of Heaven, Worship, and Creation. Our fifth is a Sephardic Torah, surrounded by a decorative silver case. (Torah covers made by www.kuvinoren.com ).
High Holy Day Torah Covers
Each year at Selichot services our year-round Torah covers are replaced with these beautiful white covers, two of which depict a mirror image design of Creation. Every High Holy Day season, the Congregation is awed anew when the ark curtains open on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, revealing these very special Torah covers.
The Gates of Heaven cemetery is located at 2045 Watt St, Schenectady, NY 12304.
Our cemetery gates are open from April through November on Sundays from 9am to 5pm. However, you may visit the cemetery whenever you want, just contact the temple office at 518-374-8173 to make arrangement to obtain a key.
If you have questions or concerns about the cemetery or about purchasing a plot, please contact our temple office at 518-374-8173.