Vassar Temple is Blessed by the Generosity of Its Donors

Stained Glass Windows - grouping

On Sunday morning June 12th. after our 10am Shavuot Service we will recognize those who made significant gifts to our Temple for two important projects. A lovely catered lunch (oneg) will follow the service. It is hosted by Lila Matlin and her daughters Barbara Aronson, Elizabeth Schwartz and Susan Piccone, as well as the daughters of Bea & Marty Gross, Nancy Gross Belok and Maggie Greif. (Important: Please RSVP to the Vassar Temple office 845-454-2570.)

The children of James and Dawn Effron, Craig, Blair, Drew, and Brooke, and their families, made generous gifts in memory of their father James, to fund the restoration of the magnificent stained glass windows in our sanctuary. The children of Bea & Marty Gross, Nancy and Maggie, together with Lila Matlin and her daughters also contributed.

The original inspiration for the installation of the windows was to honor the late honor Dr. Melvin Matlin (z”l). Dr. Matlin, husband to Lila Matlin, loved Vassar Temple. The windows are symbolic of Dr. Matlin’s strong Jewish values, and include images of some of his other loves – children and gardening. The Gross’s and Matlin’s were very close friends, and when Dr. Matlin passed away, Marty and Bea, led an effort to make the windows happen in his memory. The temple’s Sisterhood joined the effort as well, and today we are blessed to have these three magnificent works of art gracing our Sanctuary and telling the story of the Jewish people through images depicting milestones in our past.

From outside on Friday Shabbat evening services, or any evening occasion when the sanctuary lights are on, for people driving by or walking down the walkway to our temple, the windows are a delight to see. Now, thanks to the restoration they will be even more visible.

Emily and Howard Himelstein made an extremely generous gift to Vassar Temple in order to construct a stone patio in front of our existing portico and entrance overhang, facing the stained glass windows. Two existing large shrubs on the edge of the portico, which block the view of the windows, will be removed and in their place a 45’ x 15’ patio will be installed by Adams Landscaping in May, just in time for our June picnic, and of course, for our Shavuot service.

The Himelsteins feel blessed by their relationship with Vassar Temple over the years, including the many friends they’ve made at the temple. To show their affection and appreciation for our temple, they wanted a way to make a gift that could be enjoyed by all of us for many years to come. This new patio will give our temple needed space and a place to gather when coming & going from services and other occasions. We can use the space in many ways, and once benches are added, the patio will offer a lovely place for friends to sit and talk. There will be new landscaping and lighting surrounding the patio. Emily and Howard and found a wonderful way to show their everlasting love for Vassar Temple.

Together, the patio and the restored windows make a beautiful combination and a tremendous enhancement to our temple. How fitting it is that the ceremony to dedicate the patio and the windows restoration is at the same time – and on Shavuot! Vassar Temple, and all of us, are blessed by the generosity of donors. I am grateful and extremely pleased to see these very fine enhancements come about!

Bob Ritter
Vassar Temple

Shavuot Blessing - 6-12-2016
This photo was taken by Len Greenberg of the blessing by Rabbi Berkowitz on Shavout. The blessing was bestowed on the Matlin, Gross, and Himelstein families, and all those involved in the stained glass windows and the new patio, including multiple generations. Rabbi spoke to the value of legacy.

Related article from August 2015 about the Window restoration.

Shavuot Dedication - Original Rabbi Arnold

Original Stained Glass Windows Committee:
Mrs. Elaine Bard
Mr. George Friedman
Mrs. Beatrice (Bea) Gross
Mrs. Marge Kallman
Dr. Burton Katz
Mr. Matthew Lampell
Mrs. Elaine Lipschutz

Temple President – Kent Mardon
Builder of Windows – Donald Samick Owner, Lamb Studios and Barbara Hopp
Artist – Hendrick Vanderburgt

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