A Dream Come True

Stained Glass Window -perla shot
Mirrors and windows are both made of glass, but what a difference. A mirror reflects our image back to us. Reflection is important as it helps us to grow. A window, it’s an entirely different thing!

The magnificent stained glass windows in our sanctuary were clouded over diminishing their beauty and the ability of light to travel through them. Because these windows represent both the great history of our Jewish heritage and the story behind this wonderful gift to our temple, it was upsetting to many of us to see them this way.

For several years leadership in the temple has wanted to bring the windows back to their full glory. I set out to make this happen in time for our new Rabbi’s arrival. Restoring and eventually rededicating our sanctuary windows seemed to me to be a perfect way to mark the transition from one Rabbi to another.

As I see it, the windows are a metaphor with important meaning. They represent our past, present, and our future. The light of the heavens that reaches us may be thousands of years old like the Jewish people. The light of our fixtures inside our temple is the present, our Reform temple today. But the light of our
Ner Tamid, we pray, is never extinguished. As we look out the windows, we know there is a world that needs our healing. As people look in through the restored windows, they see the soul of Vassar Temple.

To achieve the goal of restoring our windows without using temple funds, I turned to my childhood family friends and religious school classmates, the Effron’s. Craig, Blair, Drew, and Brooke gave gladly and generously in honor of their father, James Effron. On the evening of Rabbi’s very first service, after the windows were just restored, a little miracle happened. It fell on the yahrzeit of their father. And, I was there on the bimah to witness it all, standing to say Kaddish for beloved “Jimmy.” A dream come true.

We were short a portion and so I had also asked the family of Bea & Marty Gross, who led the effort to create and install the original stained glass windows. They were done in memory and honor of Dr. Melvin Matlin, Lila Matlin’s late husband. (A photo of Dr. Matlin is shown.) Nancy Belok, their daughter, said the family was more than happy to put us over the top. Lila was most willing to help too. But what happened the night before our call was another miracle as I see it. Nancy she was going through and cleaning out her parent’s home in order to sell it and she came across an old cassette tape. It was a recording of her parents expressing their love of Vassar Temple and the why they gave a gift of a window as well.

Love, like light, can travel for a very long time, if we let it. Removing the cloud over our stained glass windows will hopefully help us to see the light of God’s love, and in turn to shine our love of Vassar Temple and one another. That would truly be a dream come true!

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  1. Vassar Temple is Blessed by the Generosity of Its Donors | Vassar Temple Blog

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