Designed by Solomon & Bauer Architects of Watertown, MA, Temple Shir Tikva’s building was completed in 1998. Set on 6 acres, the synagogue, with its clapboard siding and white-painted trim, fits naturally into the New England village landscape and provides a beautiful and comfortable home for our MetroWest Jewish community. The building design was featured in Architecture of the Gods, Book II by Michael J. Crosbie.
The design of the Sanctuary reflects the Jewish tradition of linking prayer to the natural world. Expansive windows and clerestories allow abundant light into the interior and provide a view of the treetops and sky. The Sanctuary, Social Hall, and intermediate space were conceived as a whole. When partitions are removed to accommodate larger programs and worship services, everyone is together in the same room; no one is seated in “auxiliary” space.
The absence of fixed seating allows for maximum flexibility in use of the space.
On Shabbat, the bimah is located in front of the Ark on the East wall. During the High Holy Days, however, the dais moves to the center of the North Wall to enable clear sight lines and seating for the whole community.
A menorah created by artist David Klass adorns the Sanctuary. The menorah has been a symbol of Judaism since ancient times and is the emblem on the coat of arms of the modern state of Israel.
Eternal Light (Ner Tamid)
The Eternal Light (Ner Tamid) symbolizes God’s presence in our midst. Local sculptress, Nancy Schön, designer of the famous “Make Way for Ducklings” statue in the Boston Garden, designed our Ner Tamid. Her design is built on the Hebrew letter shin (ש), which is often used as a reference to Shaddai, one of the names for God. The upper circle contains 7 shin letters and the lower circle contains 3. At the base is a small pomegranate, a fruit symbolizing abundance and fertility, which is often used in Jewish literature and art.
In the design of Temple Shir Tikva’s Ark, the architect and his team used elements that have been repeated through the ages: a vaulted ceiling, fluted pillars, a structure large enough to convey the centrality of Torah while still fitting the room in size and style, and a place for Hebrew verses. The design is at once traditional and modern; dignified and modest; symbolic and utilitarian.
The Hebrew verse above the Ark, דע לפני מי אתה עומד (Dah lifnei mei atah omed), comes from Pirkei Avot (The Wisdom of Our Fathers), meaning “Know before whom you stand”.
The verse on the right doorpost is from the Israeli national anthem, HaTikvah: עוד לו אבדה תקותנו (Our hope has not been destroyed).
The verse on the left is from Psalm 98, meaning “Sing a new song”: שירו שיר חדש. The doorpost verses contain the words Shir Tikva, firmly rooting our community in the sacred text.
For over 100 years, the Beit Midrash Ark graced the sanctuary in Temple Tifereth Israel in Revere, MA. With the declining Jewish population in the Revere area, that temple closed but the fate of its Judaica was unknown until the Synagogue Council of Massachusetts and Temple Shir Tikva stepped in. TST saved the Ark, Lions of Judea, the Eternal Light, the bimah, and the railings, along with some of the Torah covers. A generous TST member with family connections to Tifereth Israel helped pay for the restoration and moving of the Ark. It is believed that the Ark was designed by Sam Katz, a well-known early 20th century Ark maker, with the help of local craftsman Samuel Schwartz.
In 2018, the congregation commissioned artist Jeanette Kuvin Oren of Woodbridge, CT, to create a new ark curtain. The Tree of Life (Etz Chaim) depicted on the curtain reflects the living trees visible from the high windows in the Sanctuary.
“[Wisdom] is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her, and happy is everyone that holdest her fast.” – Proverbs 3:13-18
Our Wedding Canopy
Our community’s chuppah hangs in the sanctuary and is available for use by congregants. Made of silk charmeuse, and hand painted with floral designs, the chuppah was created by Corinne Soiken Strauss of Wainscott, NY. In the center are the words embroidered in gold, Ani L’Dodi v’Dodi Li, “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.”
Our etched glass Yarzheit wall was designed by architect Michael Rosenfeld of Concord, MA, to honor and remember the members of our community that have passed.
Adjoining the Sanctuary, a brick walled prayer garden is an oasis for quiet contemplation, spiritual renewal, prayer, and meditation. The garden is dedicated to the memory of Andrew Merrill Pastor z”l, a congregant who died in 1988 at the age of 17.