Hoffberger Chapel Windows
The sixteen stained glass windows in the Hoffberger Chapel trace the history of the Jewish people from the Biblical account of the creation of the world to the modern reality of the creation of the State of Israel.
The Chapel is a memorial gift to Baltimore Hebrew Congregation dedicated to two brothers, Samuel and Jack Hoffberger.
Nissan Engel (1931-2016) was born in Haifa, Israel. His formal training as an artist began at the Bezalel School of Art in Jerusalem; he later received a diploma from Centre Dramatique de l’Est in Strasbourg, France for theatre set and costume design. Nissan moved to New York in 1965 and stayed there for ten years before settling in Paris, France in 1975.
Engel used the windows in the chapel, starting at the right as you enter, to tell the story of Jewish history.
For a 360 degree view of the chapel and windows: Link
1. “And Behold It was Very Good”
The opening chapter of the Bible describes the creation of the world and the making of man and woman In the image of God.
2. “For now I know that thou art a God-fearing man.”
The binding of Isaac is the drama of the supreme test of Abraham. God does not require the life of Abraham’s son, but rather a commitment of will and faith.
3. And behold a ladder reaching to Heaven
Jacob’s dream, with its symbolism of angels ascending and descending a heavenly ladder, dramatizes the message that God is in every living being that allows God entry.
4. “And there has not risen a prophet since in Israel like Moses”
The Torah which was delivered to Moses at Sinai teaches us our highest obligations.
An rock from the mountain traditionally known as Mt. Sinai is contained in this window.
5. “May God bless you and keep you.”
Aaron, the first High Priest, ministers to the people of Israel wearing the breastplate of 12 precious stones, each gem representing a tribe of Israel.
6. And he ascended by a whirlwind into Heaven.”
(2 Kings 2:11)
According to legend, when the prophet Elijah was taken to heaven in a flaming chariot, his mantle fell upon is disciple, Elisha. It is the traditional hope of Judaism that Elijah will herald the messianic age.
7. “My cup runneth over.”
With Samuel’s anointing of Saul as the first King of Israel, the Hebrew tribes emerge into a united peoplehood.
8. Whither thou goest I will go.”
Remaining at the side of Naomi, Ruth expresses her loyalty to her people and to her God.
9. “For thy songs, I am a harp.”
Poet, warrior, adventurer—King David stands out in the romance of Jewish history as among the greatest of heroes.
10. “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts”
His lips touched and cleansed by a glowing coal, Isaiah arises to summon his people to a new relationship between God and humanity.
11. “Let justice well up as waters”
Amos, the shepherd of Tekoah, prods the conscience of his people in teaching them compassion for all humanity.
12. “Whosoever is zelous of the law, let him follow me.”
(1 Maccabees 2
Judah Maccabee, a pioneer in the quest for religious self-determination, stands as an inspiration in every generation.
13. “With all thy heart, with all they soul, and with all they might.”
Because of his determination to advance Jewish learning, even under persecution, Rabbi Akiba is martyred Al Kiddish HaShem—for the sanctification of God’s name.
14. For it is a tree of Life”
The Jewish journey through history has never been rootless. In the Torah, we have found inspiration and comfort.
15. “Despite All, the People Israel Lives”
Although six million perished, the flame of hope will never be extinguished.
16. If You Will It, It Need Not be a Dream”
In this generation, the hope of two thousand years has been realized in the creation of the State of Israel.
Surprising and beautiful figural windows by Nissan Engel tell the story of Jewish history. To the left of the entrance note the Holocaust with a figure in striped pajamas bearing a gold star.
The use of human figures in these windows marks a break in tradition with Orthodox Judaism.
A March 19, 1969 article in the Sun said, “The use of human figures in these windows marks a break in tradition with Orthodox Judaism.”