New Aron HaKodesh, “Holy Ark,” Gifted to LMU

“And let them make Me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them” (Exodus 25:8)

MISSION AND MINISTRY | A new and dynamic ritual object has arrived at LMU, The Aron HaKodesh: The Holy Ark. The Intercultural Suite, on the second floor of the Malone Student Center (Malone 201), which houses Ethnic and Intercultural Services (EIS), as well as the Offices of International Student Services (OISS), has a new, museum-level quality piece of religious art. The Aron HaKodesh, literally, “The Holy Ark,” often called The Ark – is a cabinet in which a Torah scroll, the Five Books of Moses, are kept, usually in a Jewish synagogue or temple’s sanctuary.

This new ark is a gift from Dr. Lane Bove, senior vice president for Student Affairs, and was designed by the son of LMU’s very own Rabbi Arthur Gross-Schaefer, professor of Marketing and Business Law. Elisha Schaefer teamed with Josh Greer to design and hand craft this piece of art over the course of three years. The ark arrives just in time to welcome the Class of 2023 and to celebrate the High Holy Days as well as other Jewish Holidays.

In most synagogues in North America, the Aron HaKodesh, is on the eastern wall so that when worshippers face the ark, they face toward Jerusalem. The ark is opened during special prayers and when removing the Torah to read during prayer services. It is customary (but not obligatory) to stand when the ark is opened.

Since it houses sacred items, the ark itself is considered holy. Thus, an ark may not be modified for non-sacred uses or discarded in a disrespectful manner. Accordingly, it must be treated with the utmost respect and dignity.

The Intercultural Suite is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and until 7 p.m. on Wednesday. We invite you to visit us and come see this gorgeous new piece of art.

Rabbi Zachary Zysman
Director of Jewish Life/LMU Hillel