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West Suburban Temple Har Zion

Address

1040 N. Harlem Ave.

Neighborhood

Oak Park

Hours

Sat, Oct 15: Closed

Sun, Oct 16: 12pm - 5pm

Photography Permitted Washrooms Available Wheelchair Accessible

Architect/Year

Loebl, Schlossman and Bennett, 1953

Website

wsthz.org

Description

Completed in 1953 to designs by the prominent Chicago architecture firm of Loebl, Schlossman and Bennett, this Modernist temple is home to truly unique works of art. Most prominent of these are a set of five two-story stained glass windows in the Gottlieb Community Hall designed in 1967 by artist, cartoonist and illustrator William Gropper. The windows render scenes from Genesis in colorful faceted glass. The very unusual moving bima, or altar, enables the facility to shift from intimate services to a giant hall capable of holding hundreds. Inside the building, there is an installation of biblically inspired tapestries by local artist Berit Engen. The tapestries are scenes depicting the receiving of the Torah and explore both action and feelings surrounding this mysterious event. The exterior features a remarkable sculpture created by Milton Horn in 1951—possibly the first figurative sculpture installed on a synagogue in over 2,000 years.

Visitor Experience

All are welcome to complete a self-guided tour and/or join any of the scheduled talks, led by artists and docents at the following times:

12 p.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. - Gropper Windows tour and lecture with member Marc Stopeck, "Shrubtown" cartoonist for Oak Park's Wednesday Journal.

12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. - Hear from the artist Berit Engen about her series of ten tapestries “Mount Sinai on Route 43,” that tell the story of receiving and accepting the covenant.

1 p.m. and 3 p.m. - Building and Temple history with member Leonard Grossman.

1:15 p.m. and 3:15 p.m. - 30-minute lecture on the Milton Horn sculptures in the Temple with member Michael Zmora.