The Blake Street Hebrew Congregation Stained Glass windows were a collaborative project inspired by the colours of Jewish life, its festivals and the holy Land of Israel. These creative designs by the late ZsuZsi Hartman a"h were transformed into vibrant windows by craftsman David Abramson
The stained glass windows project was instigated by David Abramson, a member of the BSHC building committee and former Shule president. He wanted to beautify the Shule and at the same time raise funds, whilst providing an opportunity to honour the memory of loved ones. David, as a skilled stained glass craftsman, needed an artist to design images that reflect the ethos of Modern Zionism and “Yiddishkeit”. So it was no coincidence that David invited artist and fellow congregant ZsuZsi Hartman to come on board.
Celebrating Jewish life has always been an integral part of ZsuZsi’s themes as an artist so she felt at home creating images for the 10 panels. At the same time, ZsuZsi had been working on her new series of paintings titled “Jewish heritage: The Flame of Love”. So the two projects complemented one another. The inspiration from these works gave rise to some of the ideas for the stained glass images. ZsuZsi visited Israel to allow the moods and sentiments to emerge and worked with her daughter Candi, on developing the themes, and refining them in various stages for the stained glass format. They remain a lasting memorial to her.
David took the designs and worked meticulously on the panels sourcing, selecting and cutting the glass to the exact shape and size. ZsuZsi learnt about the limitations of stained glass and David about design and colour. So began a rewarding three year journey and a collaborative labour of love where the artist and the artisan worked together to effect this meaningful and monumental project.
THE 10 WINDOWS
The vibrant palette of the windows captures the celebratory nature of our festivals and Jewish life. There is something powerful about a visual image in describing these aspects-