Ellen Holtzblatt – Sanctuary Doors

McHenry County Jewish Congregation, Crystal Lake, Illinois

Stained Glass Sanctuary Doors, 7’ x 6’, 1999

The imagery in the sanctuary doors is inspired by the morning and evening prayers. In the morning, we recite from Psalm 104 as a meditation for putting on the tallit, “wrapped in light as in a. garment, unfolding the heavens like a curtain”. In Birckot HaShahar, waking in the morning is likened to being born. Our soul is returned to our body and we thank God for its formation. In the evening prayer, Hashkiveynu, we implore God to protect us when we are asleep and exposed, “Shelter us in the shadow of your wings”. Entering the sanctuary through these doors reminds us that through prayer we place our trust in God, seeking protection in our vulnerability and expressing our gratitude for renewed life.

Ellen Holtzblatt explores the profound connections between the physical and spiritual world – the memories of the body that reside in the soul. Holtzblatt exhibits her work internationally and nationally at venues including the Jerusalem Biennale, the Museum of Biblical Art, Spertus Institute, the Rockford Art Museum, Chicago Artist’s Coalition, the Wausau Museum of Contemporary Art, Inselgalerie in Berlin, Yeshiva University Museum, and the Center for Book Arts. Recent one person exhibits include Josef Glimer Gallery, Fermilab Gallery, and the Robert F. DeCaprio Art Gallery. Holtzblatt has been awarded artist residencies in the U.S. and Iceland, and was a 2019/2020 artist resident with the Chicago Artists Coalition, where she exhibited in two-person and group exhibitions. Holtzblatt’s work is held in public and private collections, and she has received grants from the Illinois Arts Council and City of Chicago. Holtzblatt earned degrees in visual art and art therapy from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Ellen Holtzblatt is based in Chicago