The Portable Ark

by Frank Segal

The ark that houses the small Aron Kodesh contributed by Nomi Katz, and the Ner Tamid created by Avi Dolgin, was built in 1982 or 1983. It was actually the second Aron Kodesh that was made for Or Shalom, or Havurat Sim Shalom, as our community was called in those days. Daniel Siegel constructed the first one. But while his skills as a rabbi are unchallenged to this day, as a carpenter he had room for more development. (There is a temptation to make a comparison with another rabbi in history who was also a carpenter). The ark itself was constructed in a matter of days after weeks of contemplation and meditation on the internal and external structure. There were several design constraints; it had to be portable, it had to be relatively light but it also had to be able to hold several Torah scrolls.

In its construction, oak plywood was used for the sides, top, bottom, and back because of its durability and 2x2 fir was used in the corners. The doors are off-the-shelf shelving. The interior is lined with aromatic cedar strips and after 15 years the aroma is still there. Celia Brauer designed and created the parochet (curtain).


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