The Lanski Windows

valeska_windowsRendered in English in the left panel and in Hebrew in the right panel, the theme of the windows in the sanctuary is God, the Torah, and Israel are One.  A free-flowing collage of Judaism's sacred symbols and the ritual objects used during the year-round observance of Sabbath and the festivals, the windows were designed by Rabbi Ralph Simon z"l and stained-glass artist Adolfas Valeška.  Of Lithuanian origin, Mr. Valeška combined the Jewish folk traditions of that country with free, mid-20th-century expression and imaginatively executed the theme in rich color and design.

The materials used are most unusual.  Instead of conventional stained glass and lead, the window is constructed of heavy slab-glass and concrete.  The surfaces are hand-chipped and chiseled, giving a vibrant quality and multiple color nuances to the design.

The Lanski Chapel, dedicated to the memory of Bashe (Friedman) and Israel Lanski, anchored the northeast corner of our previous building.  The Ark occupied a marble recess along the Chapel's eastern wall, flanked by these magnificent windows dedicated to the memory of their son Abe H. Lanski.  In 1966, the Chicago Chapter of the American Institute of Architects recognized the windows with an Honor Award in Fine Arts.  The windows were reinstalled side by side in the sanctuary of our new building in 2000.

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