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Synagogue to dedicate chuppah - traditional Jewish wedding canopy
The Oregonian, 1986

by: Janet Christ

Future wedding ceremonies at Congregation Neveh Shalom will transport couples a few steps into the past.

Friday, the congregation will dedicate the the synagogue's new chuppah - a wedding canopy - under which traditional Jewish weddings are performed.

The chuppah symbolizes the tent into which a mang and a woman entered, in biblical times, when they became husband and wife.

The 8:15 p.m. dedication will include wedding music by Cantor Marc Dinkin at the synagogue, 2900 S.W. Peaceful Lane.

The 6-foot-square chuppah, stretched between four metal stakes, will be used for the first time at a wedding Sunday.

Materials were donated by congregants Jack and Rose Olds in honor of their 50th wedding anniversary, said Sylvia Pearlman, co-executive director for congregation membership.

The design on the chuppah depicts the wedding couple whos arms form an unbroken circle. The circle also represents the sun or the moon depending upon the interpretation, said artist Sara Harwin, creator of the design.

A blue sky for background and a gold wedding band encircling the couple complete the symmetrical design.

In Hebrew letters, Harwin incorporated a quotation from the Song of Solomon: "I am by beloved's and my beloved is mine."

At the corners, also in Hebrew, are the names of Rose and Jack Olds; Harwin; JoEllen Miller, who worked the design in needlepoint; and Miller's parents, the late rose and Joe Adasbek.

Harwin, a painter and printmaker who often uses folk-art themes, previously used the wedding design for a stained-glad window and adopted it for a serigraph print.

Rabbi Joshua Stampfer saw the window in Harwin's home and thought it would make a good chuppah design for the synagogue, Harwin said.

Miller carried out the design in Persian wool yarn on heavy 10-mesh canvas. She said the needlepoint work took about 20 hours a week for a year.

She said it was the third needlepoint chuppah that she had crafted.

Stampfler said chuppahs may be created of any materials, provided they are temporary structures.

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