The vision of our congregation is to be lights of Yeshua to the darkening
world around us and to the Jewish people who don't yet know their
Messiah. We want to be a spiritual lighthouse in downtown Haifa and to the
ends of the earth. The ark that houses the Torah scroll in our
congregational sanctuary is modelled after the pillar of fire. The
one-of-a-kind design is highly symbolic of our vision and is the visual
focus of our sanctuary. It was created by our dear friends and founding
members of Return to Zion congregation. They are a husband and wife artistic
team. Ephraim is a sculptor and graphic designer, and Ivetta is an
Ephraim & Ivetta
Leon Mazin - Congregation Leader
When the Israelites left Egypt,
God Himself led them through the desert in the pillar of fire and
cloud. He was the light shining in the darkness by night, shielding
them from their enemies. By day, He showed the way and refreshed them with
shade. In the midst of His people, God's presence was connecting
heaven and the earth. He was molding His people into a nation, by His
commandments and by His presence.
Removing the scroll from the ark
God has brought our generation from the northern lands and from other lands
all over the world. We were scattered for so long. Now we need to become a
united nation once again, to become His nation. We need God
in our midst. God will teach us and unite us, by His Word and presence. He
will lead us, give us shade and scatter our enemies.
That is why the design of the Torah ark was inspired by the pillar of fire
and cloud. It "breaks through" the concrete ceiling to the sky prompting us
to break through in our prayers and in our lives.
"The Word was with God ..." (John 1:1) The Torah scroll is housed in
our Pillar of Fire.
"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us ..." (John 1:14) We
take the scroll out of the ark. We read, and the Word becomes alive in us.
The light of the Word of God spreads all over the world to those who
already know Him and to those who do not, shining into the darkness.
Like the waves of clouds going forth from the Pillar of Fire, the Word of
God goes forth and spreads throughout the world. The words "For out of
Zion shall go forth the Law, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem"
(Isaiah 2:3) are engraved in the wood around the top of the ark.
The pillar of fire moved. It moved forward. We too should not stop, but
move forward, seeking the answers for many questions.
This world is far from being perfect. It is not time for us to sleep.
Tikkun olam, the correction and restoration of this world, is
underway. We still have a lot of creative work to perform, together with
the Great Artist, the Creator of the whole Universe. Amen.