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Synagogue dedicates chuppah: handmade, traditional canopy
The Oregonian, June 24, 1986

by: Janet Christ

Wedding ceremonies at Congregation Neveh Shalom transport couples a few steps into the ancient past when performed under the synagogue's new chuppah, a wedding canopy.

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

Materials for the 6-foot-square chuppah, which is stretched between four metal stakes, 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 whose 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 my 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 Adashek.

Harwin, a painter and printmaker who often uses folk art themes, previously used the wedding design for a stained-glass window and adapted 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.

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