G. L. Sussman - Site Specific Work
Temple Doors

Congregation Beth El, Bennington, VT
The front doors of the synagogue were installed in 1990 and are the gift of Rolf Sternberg, given in memory of his grandparents, Max and Henny Sternberg, who were victims of the holocaust. The inlay panels and the door handles in the form of the Shofar are the orginal work of the sculptor, G. L. Sussman. The panels on the left depict a Menorah, with the name of the congregation, Beth El, written above it in Hebrew. The original Menorah (7 lamps mounted on a single stand) was in the ancient temple of Jerusalem and its localization of light symbolizes life.

The carving of the right hand panel constitutes what mathematicians call "A magic square". In the nine spaces of the three by three square, the Hebrew letters, each of which represents a numeral, are placed in such a way that each column and each diagonal adds up to fifteen. The sequence of letters of the name for G-d which appears frequently in The Bible adds up to fifteen. Consequently, the square indirectly symbolizes G-d's name, stressing the meaning of the synagogue's name, Beth El, "House of G-d" without violating the tradition that G-d's name is never written except in sacred context.