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Original Site at

Ner Zedek-Ezrath Israel 1994-2017

Current Site at Congregations of

Shaare Shamayim 2017


This sculpture installation was originally commissioned by Ner Zedek-Ezrath Israel in 1993. The artist, Laura Jacobs, met with the congregation Executives, led by one of the founders, Marvin Munstein, to discuss their long-standing interest.   The committee wanted to commemorate those who had suffered, as well as offering a vision of hope and peace.  

The work consists of three large separate structures, the two ends at 5'8"h x 3'w x 3"d  and the center at 6'4"h x 3'w x 3"d.  They are constructed wood panels with deep clay sculpture relief, mixed media and painted acrylic. The center panel is three structural layers, with a 3 dimensional sculpted figure, approximately 9"h x 13"w x 4"d.  There is an actual light shining down on the figure at the top of the tube-like architecture. 


The panels are to be read as a progression from the historical theme of “Destruction”, to an intimate look at the individual in “Abandonment”, leading to a strong and positive message in “Redemption”.   The extremes of contrast in life are suggested by seeing the three panels together.  The stillness of the prisoners represented in the lower half of the first panel are in clear contrast to the lively visitors at the Western Wall seen in the top of the third panel.  The use of gold and yellow light represents destruction of precious life from fire. This is in contrast to the beautiful sunlight that shines where people pray freely.  The three panels, seen together as a whole, attempt to encompass the magnitude of this event that altered humankind forever.  

On March 13, 1994 the Synagogue unveiled the work, with keynote speaker, U.S. Sen.Harris Wofford (D.,PA) and the Synagogue President Maxine Goldman.  At that time, the congregation consisted of approximately 450 families, with at least 10 percent being survivors themselves.  The Memorial finds its new home at Congregations of Shaare Shamayim, of Montgomery County, Bucks County, and Northeast Philadelphia.  It can be seen in a beautiful sanctuary-like space, keeping the memories and message alive.


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