West Suburban Temple Har Zion
1040 N. Harlem Ave.
Loebl, Schlossman and Bennett, 1953
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.