Sanctum

1951

Wood. 248 x 868 x 10 cm

This screen was created for the choir  of the Orthodox synagogue in the South African mining town of Springs. It was a feature of synagogue architecture at the time for the  choir to be placed behind a  screen. Herman Wald created this choir screen as  a metaphor for  Jewish  devotion,  symbolized by the hands which offer  their traditional prayer. The menorah (seven-armed candelabra) in the centre, standing on the tablets of the ten commandments recalls the siege of the Jerusalem Temple.  The lulav  (palms branches used on the festival of Succot) kindle its light, showing that despite the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, the light still burns and the faith survives.  The fountain beneath the tablets  is  flanked by two Lions of Judah.  The images are clad in a  prayer shawl stretched along the arch of the outer periphery, its  fringes symbolizing  the four corners of the world.

 © Kaplan Centre

Images reproduced by kind permission of Louis Wald

The Life and Art of

HERMAN WALD

(1906-1970)