Our synagogue was built in 1964, and is located on Baltimore Road in Rockville, Md., next to Rockville High School and within a short walk of Rock Creek Park.
A path from the synagogue adjacent to the woods allows us a scenic walk to running water for Tashlich. In addition, members who live in the residential neighborhoods in the immediate area enjoy a pleasant walk to services on Shabbat.
Tikvat Israel is blessed with many members who have artistic talent, and our synagogue walls feature much of their beautiful artwork. Our logo, seen on our synagogue’s front exterior wall, was designed by member Avrum Ashery.
The theme of the stained-glass ark doors is based on the text above the original ark, “Know Before Whom You Stand.”
When one views the wonders of nature, the beautiful sunsets and sunrises in the upper left section, beautiful rainbows in the far right, lush vegetation in the bottom left to center, one knows before whom one stands.
The lamed of the word “lefnai” (before) reaches up to form the letter shin for shadai — God almighty, who created all the wonders of nature.
Designed by Avrum I. Ashery, 1988
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven (Eccles. 3:1).
This beautiful representation of selected verses from Ecclesiastes hangs in our sanctuary and is 13 feet by 7 feet. It was designed by renowned Judaic artist Jeanette Kuvin Oren, handcrafted by members of our congregation and dedicated in 1991.
On entering our lobby, you will see the display case shown at the left, which holds the first Torah used by Beth Tikva (now Tikvat Israel). This Torah was rescued from the synagogue of Gablonz, Czechoslovakia by Rabbi George Vida. The Torah is now the centerpiece of the Tikvat Israel Holocaust memorial. It is opened to Lech Lecha, the last parsha (portion of the Torah) read at the synagogue in Gablonz, Czechoslovakia. The following inscription is below the Torah:
Now the Lord said unto Abram: ‘Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house.’ (Genesis 12:1)
Read a wonderful story by Emmie Vida about this special Torah here.
As one enters the spacious sanctuary one’s eye is drawn immediately to the bimah which was renovated in 2009 to provide full accessibility. It is enhanced by stonework. There is a limestone finish known as Jerusalem gold that borders the bottom of the ark and smooth tile on the sides of the ark. The ark doors are illuminated from within with the Ner Tamid , designed by Philip Ratner, above it. The Ark stained glass doors were designed by Tikvat Israel congregant Avrum Ashery.
Prior to 2009, as with many buildings built before 1990, there were no accommodations for those with physical disabilities but renovations have changed that. Our building and our bimah permit full access to those with physical limitations and for those who use a wheelchair. The wheelchair ramps enable entry to the building and access to the main area of the bimah, up to just a few feet from the ark. Other enhancements include wooden railings and a lower bimah. “By lowering the bimah, we have lifted up our synagogue. It is now inclusive for everyone,” said Sam Freedenberg.
Shabbat and Hagim Torah Covers
We commissioned the scribing of a Torah for the tenth year anniversary of the merger of Beth Tikva and Temple Israel and it proudly sits in a cover designed by renowned fabric artist Shirley Waxman.
High Holiday Torah Covers
Congregant Shirley Waxman stands alongside the four new covers that will adorn Tikvat Israel’s Torah scrolls during the High Holidays. Waxman, a longtime renowned fabric artist who has created dozens of congregants’ colorful tallitot over the years, coordinated the project in which dozens of volunteers embroidered small sections of the covers. The covers were dedicated at Shabbat services on Sept. 20, 2014.