16 October 2008

Tabernacles



These two stained-glass windows were photographed for Window Gazing by SHARON MAIL and are part of one of the most significant works of art commissioned by the Jewish community in Scotland.

They are the work of one of Scotland’s best contemporary artists, John K Clark, and were originally commissioned, in 1987, for the Queens Park Synagogue but subsequently moved to the Giffnock Synagogue in Glasgow.

The windows are part of the Sukkot (Tabernacles) Series and their symbolism is explained below:

The top window represents the ingathering of Crops: ‘on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruits of the land, ye shall keep the feast of the Lord seven days’ (Leviticus 23.39). The arched area of this panel shows another interpretation of the Sukkah, as the Clouds of Glory, cloud by day and fire by night, that accompanied the Children of Israel in the desert and gave them continual Divine protection. The window also includes a reminder of the Exodus in the form of the parting of the sea. Seven types of produce appear, harvested and put in storage.

The bottom window is dominated by one of the main symbols of Sukkot, the Arba Minim, the four species – willow, palm, etrog (citron) and myrtle – that are taken together and shaken in all directions during prayers in the first seven days of the Festival. This window also represents Hoshannah Rabah, the seventh day of Sukkot, when the Temple ritual reached a climax with prayers for water, and a libation ceremony on the altar, accompanied by music on trumpets and harps, flutes and cymbals.


© Sharon Mail 2008