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An edifice of hope

Churva Synagogue in Jerusalem, courtesy of the author
Churva Synagogue in Jerusalem (image courtesy of author)

I look up at the high domed ceiling, with its pristine white color and at the stained glass windows, with light shining through them. Beside me are people of varied ages. Fathers study with their young sons, yeshiva boys debate one another and older men share their wisdom with a younger generation. Straight ahead, in the front of the room, stands a magnificent structure. A two-story aron kodesh (holy ark), made of mahogany wood and gold, stands there majestically, as if surveying the scene in front of it.

The wall behind it, stands in contrast to the other walls in the room. While the others are smartly plastered and refurbished, this one is remains plain and undecorated. It remains as a tribute to the shul (synagogue) that once stood in this very same place, but was destroyed, twice. Amid its renewed beauty and glory, the wall behind the aron kodesh (holy ark) is a reminder of the destruction of the past, just as a similar wall, only a few minutes walk from here, bears witness to what once was. It is a challenging thing to process.

However, as I look around this sanctuary, bathed in light and filled with the melodies of Torah study and prayer, I’m filled with hope and joy. It is the dream that that which was destroyed, will be rebuilt and that which lay in ruin, will rise up renewed light, song and spirit!

About the Author
Eli Menasse, originally from Monsey NY, has enjoyed poetry and creative writing since he was a teenager. Having studied in Yeshivat Aish HaTorah in Israel and earned his BA in Psychology from Touro College in NY; he is passionate about using creativity in sharing the beauty of Israel, Jewish values and human kindness.
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