The central focus of any synagogue is its sanctuary and Agudas Achim is no different. A lot of time and a lot of meetings went into the design and construction of our new synagogue and in particular the sanctuary. To make a former gym into a synagogue was a daunting task, but with the help of our main architects Newman Monson of Iowa City and Jay Brown of Levin/Brown Architects in Maryland we have a wonderful versatile sanctuary.
In the front of the sanctuary is the bimah with the Aron Kodesh (Ark) from our old building. Above the bimah is our own Ner Tamid (Eternal Light).To the north are the memorial tablets framed on the wood from the panels of the chairs from the old synagogue. And to the west are the bookcases from our former synagogue. While we could not take all of the calligraphy from the former building we did commission Cheryl Jacobson to paint the Hebrew lettering on the southern wall. Those quotes are all from the Hebrew Bible. She did all of the calligraphy in the old synagogue. Some of it was preserved and is hanging in the main office.
The seats are moveable and can be configured in a variety of ways. The moveable bimah allows for a more traditional style of services, where the bimah is in the middle. The wall with the calligraphy is a moveable wall which allows us to hold the High Holy Day services in the synagogue and not in a theatre.