In October of 2001 a beloved Nonagenarian member of the Lincoln Square Synagogue community- Mrs. Martha Cohen- approached Edward Jacobs with a singular request. She wanted Jacobs to design a special Ark and Eternal light for the sanctuary that would be an inspiring gift to the congregation she so loved, as well as a memorial to her parents who were killed in the Holocaust and had no known grave.
Lincoln Square Synagogue 200 Amsterdam Avenue, NY NY 10023
At over 12 feet tall the towering round doors of the Ark are faced in dark walnut similar in tone to the walls of the existing sanctuary. These doors also act as a dramatic backdrop for the brass sculptures attached to the doors. The graceful curves of these elements at once recall the classical Menorah motif but symbolize as well as the outstretched wings of the “Cherubim” atop the original Ark of the Covenant. They also introduce a feeling of ascension which will continue from within.
When the Ark is opened, a bold metamorphosis takes place. The interior of the Ark is lined with pure white maple wood and illuminated top and bottom with dramatic lighting. When opened, the entire sanctuary is transformed by the interior of the Ark.
Standing from floor to ceiling within the Ark is a bronze spiral sculpture, each step a cradle for the 8 Torah Scrolls housed within. In one of the most famous dreams of the Biblical liturgy, Jacob our Patriarch has a dream of a Ladder. In it, he saw angels ascending and descending on each side of the ladder creating an unbroken connection between the Heavens and earth. Like in his dream when the spiral sculpture of the Ark spins it appears as though the Torah Scrolls themselves are ascending and descending simultaneously, maintaining that Heavenly connection.
The Eternal Light is a composed of a hand blown conoid almost 3 feet in length and 18 inches in circumference. It is suspended from within a hand carved brass collar- the whole sculpture weighing over 20 kilo.
In February of 2003, Mr. Charles Krauthammer was scholar in residence at LSS. When the Pulitzer prize winning columnist delivered his final talk of Shabbat he began by commenting that he found the Aron, specifically the interior portion, with the Torahs rising Heavenward, one of the most beautiful and meaningful he had ever seen.
It was this Heavenly connection that we sought to underscore as legacy for dear Mrs. Cohen.
In January of 2013 the Aron was dismantled and put into storage as the Synagogue moved into new facilities.