It’s been about 10 years since our beautiful stained glass windows were installed, a gift from the Slater family. As a reminiscence, we offer the following article, originally published on the GRS website in May 2007.
The building for Glasgow Reform Synagogue on Ayr Road on the southside of Glasgow was completely renovated in 2002. In a beautiful, light and simple modern style, the sanctuary and classrooms are functional and inspiring. Although there is no ornate decoration, the Slater family, longstanding members of the synagogue, always felt that the four internal windows between the back of the sanctuary and the entry hall would be a perfect place to install stained glass windows.
Ralph Slater, a great patron of the synagogue, passed away a number of years ago. When his wife Barbara died last year, their children, Susan Rose and Paul Slater decided it was the perfect time to carry out the mitzvah of Zachor, commemorate their parents, with windows depicting the Jewish life cycle. It would be a fitting commemoration of their parents who had established such a loving Jewish family home for them while growing up, as well as a way of generously contributing to the beautification of Glasgow Reform Synagogue.
The windows depicting Birth, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Marriage and Death were commissioned to be completed by expert stained glass artist Susan Bradbury. The common theme running through the windows are circles of light, which depict blessing in each of the windows. Through colour, texture, recurring circles, the artist has taken themes and ideas from Jewish mysticism and tradition to; depict Birth as the gates of heaven opening for a myriad of blessings; Bar/Bat mitzvah is depicted through the theme of tallit, the prayer shawl a young person wears after the time of bar/bat mitzvah to symbolize their commitment to the obligations of Judaism; Marriage is symbolized through a colourful and brightly decorated chuppah in which are the seven circles of wedding blessing recited at a Jewish wedding, and in which is incorporated a real, broken, wine glass that has been stamped upon as at the end of a Jewish wedding; and Death with its stark black depicting the grave, surrounded by colourful and weather-worn pebbles and stones like those brought by relatives commemorating their loved ones.
The synagogue is truly honoured to have received this generous gift of art from the Slaters, and it serves as a true memorial for their parents, Barbara and Ralph.