Arks

Many of these arks have been commissioned for multiple use settings—during the week, the ark serves as an art piece with Jewish references; in preparation for Shabbat and holidays, the sacred nature of the ark is revealed as doors move, panels recede, and a Hebrew inscription and eternal light appear. [Click on an image to see multiple views]. These are just a sampling of over 30 arks for which David Strauss has received national recognition.

Please contact David to see a more extensive portfolio of completed ark projects.

Ark for a beit midrash

Ark for a beit midrash

Arks 1A-Brown Hillel

Ark for the Beit Midrash (room for study) at Brown Univ. Hillel, honoring the sources of Jewish learning. The central portion where the Torahs are stored is a graphic depiction of the open pages of the Talmud, which is in turn supported by the five books of the Torah and the six orders of the Mishnah, the pillars of Jewish knowledge on which the Talmud is based.

Arks 1B- Brown Hillel Open

View showing the doors to the interior of the ark in open position.

 

Jewish Continuity Ark

Jewish Continuity Ark

From Generation to Generation.Exterior

Jewish Continuity Ark at Univ. of Florida Hillel (8’-2”H x 5’-6”W) illustrating the unbroken stream of Jews from our forefathers to the present and beyond. The inscription is from Psalms 128: “May you live to see your children’s children, and may there be peace upon Israel”

From Generation to Generation Interior

When the bi-fold panels of the outer doors are folded back for services, the generational theme continues with an emphasis on the relationship of each generation to God. The quote is from the Kedushah in the Shabbat morning Amidah: “May You (God) be exalted and sanctified in Jerusalem Your city, from generation to generation and for all eternity”

From Generation to Generation-inner ark doors open

View showing inner ark doors open along the seam of the road leading up to Jerusalem

 

Through the Prism of Blessings

Through the Prism of Blessings

Arks 3A - U Texas Ark exterior

Through the Prism of Blessings, installed at Univ. of Texas Hillel, Austin, TX, one of 3 arks inspired by the blessings of the Amidah prayer, 9’H x 5’W. In an allusion to the ingathering of Jews that we pray for in the 10th Amidah blessing, Jews from many different individual backgrounds and traditions come together at Hillel, then branch out, spreading enlightenment from the swirling experience of their college years.

Arks 3B- U Texas Ark interior

When the ark is being used for services, the words of the 16th Amidah blessing are contained in the illuminated inscription, which also serves as the Ner Tamid (Eternal Light): Blessed are you God, who hears prayer. The shofars are a metaphor for our plaintive voices joined in communal prayer. They also reflect the theme of the exterior of the ark, since in the 10th Amidah blessing the great ingathering of our people is announced by the call of shofars.

 

Gates of Jerusalem

Gates of Jerusalem

Arks 4A- Gates of Jerusalem--closed

Gates of Jerusalem Ark at Univ. of Florida Hillel,
Gainesville, FL. 8’-0”W x 6’-3”H. The gates are patterned on the actual gates leading from West Jerusalem to the Old City.

Arks 4B - Gates of Jerusalem open

When the ark is in use, the gates are moved aside to reveal the inner ark doors and a back-lit inscription (“Open to me the gates of righteousness…” Psalm 118) that also serves as a perpetually illuminated Ner Tamid.

 

Tree of Life Ark at Hebrew Senior Life, Boston MA
Tree of Life Ark at Hebrew Senior Life, Boston

Tree of Life Ark at Hebrew Senior Life, Boston

Tree of Life Ark at Hebrew Senior Life, Boston MA

Ark at Hebrew Senior Life, Boston. The Tree of Life is a metaphor for the teachings of Torah. The olive tree is known for its long life as well as its association with both Biblical and present-day Israel. The inscription is from Proverbs: “The fruit of the righteous is a Tree of Life”.

Arks 5B - Hebrew SEnior Life Ark open

The stained glass cloud formation over the energetic Judean landscape also serves as the Eternal Light, seen in full when the Ark is opened.

 

Portable Ark, “All Jews are Responsible for Each Other”

Portable Ark, “All Jews are Responsible for Each Other”

#1-Ark

Portable Ark, “All Jews are Responsible for Each Other” Bab. Talmud (Shevuot 39a) is illustrated with a sheaf of wheat, since the individual stalks can stand only if they are bound together in harmony. Wheat, being one of the seven species mentioned in the Torah, is especially evocative of the Land of Israel and its abundance.

UFlorida Hillel Portable Ark

Detail of Portable Ark.