Ahavas Sholom – an Historic Landmark and Sacred Space

Newark's Last Remaining Synagogue born of the Great European Migration at the turn of the 20th Century

145 Broadway, Newark, NJ 07104
Phone: 973-485-2609 | Email: cahavassholom@optimum.net


Simon Says, February 25, 2022

My grandson Ilan is a whiz at completing Lego kits.  The more parts the better, and the tinier parts the better.  He likes Star War kits, Minecraft kits, Avengers kits, car kits, and building kits.

The Torah portion this week is Vayakhel, the construction of the Mishkan.  I searched for images of the Mishkan on Google, and I found a Mishkan model, good for “home and Christian schools.”  The box says it is easy to assemble (there is a French version of the box), and it has 328 pieces.  The priests and the livestock are unpainted; you need to paint the priests and the livestock by yourself.  It is made by The Tabernacle Place.  I wonder what Ilan (who attends a day school in California) would make of that kit.

All of the images that you can look up on Google are similar.  The fence of cloth surrounding a small building.  What would Bezalel have given for one of the images.  Instead, he had to make the Mishkan from verbal instructions.  What a testament to Bezalel that he built the Mishkan at all, let alone, only from God’s instructions.  Probably the contemporary images of the Mishkan resemble the actual Mishkan coincidentally, if not at all.

I don’t know when the real Mishkan was constructed; it was probably not constructed when the Israelites wandered for 40 years.  It was probably constructed at Shiloh.  https://www.timesofisrael.com/listen-at-shiloh-archaeologist-finds-artifacts-hinting-at-biblical-tabernacle/.

The Mishkan is the blueprint for every synagogue in modern times.  The synagogues have the ark, containing the Torah scrolls, at the “head” of building, corresponding to the Ark containing the Ten Commandments.  Every synagogue has a Ner Tamid, the Eternal Light, replicating the Ner Tamid in the Mishkan. 

The contemporary arks face Jerusalem, with the rare exception of the Bialystoker Synagogue in the Lower East Side.  The building, formerly was a church, with its entrance is on the east side, and the ark is the west wall of the synagogue.  You can look it up.