An extraordinary collaboration and close friendship between Rabbi David Jacobs and acclaimed artist David Holleman resulted in a suite of stained-glass windows that graced Temple Beth El of Quincy, Massachusetts for five decades. With the merger of Temple Beth El and Temple Shalom and a relocation to Blue Hills, the leadership of Temple Beth El sought a new home for their beloved windows. The Skirball Museum is honored to give these beautiful windows renewed life on the Cincinnati campus of HUC-JIR, where they will eventually be placed on view to bring light and inspiration to our community for years to come. Currently, the window depicting the giving of the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai is on view in the third floor lobby of Mayerson Hall.
Filled with symbolism, the Holocaust panel bears the words Im kol zeh ani ma-amin—Even with all this I still believe. The words emerge as smoke from six smokestacks representing the six million, transforming into angel wings over the scene. The infamous Magen David bears the word Zekhor- Remember, instead of the word Jew. Amidst the brick walls, barbed wire, and belching ovens a variety of hats are depicted—all representing the variety of beliefs and origins of the Jews of Europe. Hands are closed, making a fist, then open, admitting the light of God, even at this terrible moment. The central arm bears the number 613, representing the Torah’s 613 mitzvot, or good deeds. Across the bottom of the panel is the Yiddish phrase, Gevalt, which means shriek, scream, violence—part of the indistinct jumble and chaos that is pushed towards the fire.