Back to Blog November 13, 2019

Tyler Glass alumnus builds “House of Learning” at local synagogue

Author: Zachary Vickers

Eight decades after his grandfather fled Nazi Germany and his family’s beloved synagogue was destroyed during the terrors of Kristallnacht, Tyler Glass alumnus Dan Ostrov (MFA ’08) has helped construct a suite of new, one-of-a-kind furniture for the Beit Midrash, or “house of learning,” at Kohelet Yeshiva, a Modern Orthodox K-12 school near Philadelphia in Merion Station, Pennsylvania. 

Ostrov—Kohelet Yeshiva’s middle and high school art teacher—was approached by Rabbi Gil Perl, head of school of Kohelet Yeshiva, to construct an Aron Hakodesh (a holy ark containing the school’s Torah scrolls), Mechitztot (partitions), Bimah (pedestal where the Torah is read), Amud (lectern) and Ner Tamid (a perpetually lit sanctuary lamp) for the school’s Beit Midrash. Perl was familiar with Ostrov’s unique wood installations, as well as his commission to build a sculpture of St. Peter’s Basilica in Center City for Pope Francis’s historic visit to Philadelphia in 2015.  

The construction of these sacred items was an opportunity to showcase Ostrov’s craftsmanship (apparent in the curved wooden slats of his Mechitztot (see above image) and his blown glass Ner Tamid) that he honed in Tyler’s Glass Program as a graduate student. It also gave him a chance to bring the memory of his family’s past in Germany to life. Within the Aron, behind the Torah scrolls, Ostrov created a backlit mirror that has been laser-etched with the image of his grandfather’s former synagogue in Germany that was lost during Kristallnacht (below).

To read more, please visit the blog of Gil Perl, head of school of Kohelet Yeshiva.