Through the generosity of Nancy Berman and Alan Bloch, The Philip and Muriel Berman Foundation, and an anonymous donor, Dr. Lewis M. Barth and eleven students in his fall 2005 Midrash course were given the opportunity to work with contemporary artist Victor Raphael on an innovative collaboration. Students, teacher, and artist all participated in an "Artist Beit Midrash," where the challenge for the class was to transmit Jewish text and ideas emanating from the course's content to the artist. The challenge for the artist was to create an artwork responsive to the material and the students' desire for an enhanced learning environment.
Raphael conceived of a sanctuary for learning that is both comforting to the soul and stimulating to the imagination. He created three luminous art works for three walls of the room and embellished both sides of the entry door with designs of precious copper and metal leaf. Consultation on commissioning public artwork was provided by Dean Ruth Weisberg of the USC Gayle Garner Roski School of Fine Arts. Additional material for the embellishment of the door was provided by The Alpert Group, LLC.