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December 14, 2018  RSS feed
Congregations

Text: T T T

Temple to dedicate new moveable ark


The Aiken family stand with the new portable ark they helped Dr. Maurice Aiken build for Temple Ahavah Shalom. (L-R) Benjamin, Dr. Maurice Aiken, Justin, Karen and Jenna Aiken The Aiken family stand with the new portable ark they helped Dr. Maurice Aiken build for Temple Ahavah Shalom. (L-R) Benjamin, Dr. Maurice Aiken, Justin, Karen and Jenna Aiken Leave it to a podiatrist to “step in” when he sees a need.

That is exactly what Dr. Maurice Aiken, did last year when he and his family attended High Holy Days family Shabbat services at Temple Ahavat Shalom in Palm Harbor. Because the temple has outgrown its space, an overflow of people were in a space adjacent to the sanctuary for the service and Dr. Aiken noticed that a Torah scroll was lying unprotected on a table, and not inside an ark.

Of course, the main sanctuary has an impressive ark for its Torah scrolls, but Aiken felt a smaller, portable ark was needed for use when there were services outside the sanctuary. That decision, plus the fact he is handy, resulted in creation of a new portable ark that became a project for his family.


The Torah Scroll at Temple Ahavat Shalom at home in its new ark. The Torah Scroll at Temple Ahavat Shalom at home in its new ark. On Saturday, Dec. 21 at 7:30 p.m., the new ark will be dedicated at the temple. A kiddush will follow the service.

Aiken said he “wanted the family services to have both the level of decorum and the focal point that one would expect to see during High Holy Day services.”

But the challenge was “it had to be transportable, similar to the ark that accompanied Moses and the Jews on their exodus from Egypt,” he said

“It is a very beautiful ark, said Rabbi Gary Klein, “I think its design and ornamentation add to the sanctity of its purpose. I am very grateful that our congregation now has this treasure and hopefully we will use to house our sefer Torah during many different types of worship services.”

Aiken, who has a practice in Dunedin, spent hours researching his project before construction, deciding it had to be large enough to hold two “fully dressed” Torah scrolls, had to be on wheels and could be dismantled into smaller pieces for mobility.

Since it was for a children’s/family service, Aiken said he wanted it to have “a spiritual and whimsical design that was both meaningful and colorful.”

Soon, his wife Karen and his children and mother were all helping. He chose a Tree of Life design and carved out branches of the tree on the front doors so the scrolls could be seen when the doors were closed. Once the construction of the Ark was completed, the decoration began, Aiken said.

His children, Jenna, Justin and Benjamin, and his sister, Elene Aiken helped in painting the Ark and created the colorful flowers and leaves that were added to the branches on the Ark’s doors. His mother, Carol Davis, fashioned the lush navy crushed velvet draperies that lined the Ark’s interior.

The project was finished off with LED interior and exterior lighting and was completed in time for family Rosh Hashanah services earlier this year. Already when Aiken’s youngest son Benjamin has his Bar Mitzvah in May, he wants the portable ark to be used.


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