Tikvat Israel Congregation

A Friendly, Participatory, Egalitarian Conservative Synagogue in Rockville, MD

Tour of the Synagogue

The Lobby

On entering our lobby, you will see the display case shown below, which holds the first Torah used by  Tikvat Israel (formerly Beth Tikva). This Torah was rescued from the synagogue in Gablonz, Czechoslovakia, by Rabbi George Vida during the Holocaust.

Torah saved by Rabbi George Vida during the Shoah

It is opened to Lech Lecha, the last parsha (portion of the Torah) read at the synagogue in Gablonz. The  inscription below the Torah reads: “Now the Lord said unto Abram: ‘Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house.’ ” (Gen. 12:1)

Read a wonderful story by Emmie Vida about this special Torah here.

The Sanctuary

As you enter our spacious sanctuary, your eye is drawn immediately to the bimah. Renovated in 2009, the bimah is accessible up to a few inches from the ark, with a wheelchair ramp and wooden railings. A limestone finish known as Jerusalem gold borders the bottom of the ark and smooth tile on the sides of the ark. The ark doors are illuminated from within and by the Ner Tamid (Eternal Light), designed by Philip Ratner, from above. The stained-glass doors of the ark were designed by Tikvat Israel congregant Avrum Ashery.


Photo by Larry M. Levine

Photo by Larry M. Levine

The Ark

The theme of the stained-glass ark doors is based on the text above Tikvat Israel’s original ark: “Know Before Whom You Stand.”


Ark Doors Ruth Lefcoe

Designed by Avrum Ashery, 1988 (Photo by Ruth Lefcoe)


When one views the wonders of nature, the beautiful sunsets and sunrises in the upper left section,  beautiful rainbows in the far right, lush vegetation in the bottom left to center, one knows before whom one stands.

The lamed of the word “lefnai” (before) reaches up to form the letter shin for shadai — God almighty, who created all the wonders of nature.

Ecclesiastes Wall Hanging

On the right side of the sanctuary as you face the bimah is a beautiful wall hanging based on the following verse in Ecclesiastes: To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven (Eccles. 3:1).The wall hanging is 13 feet by 7 feet and was designed by renowned Judaic artist Jeanette Kuvin Oren, and handcrafted by 150 members of our congregation under the supervision of fabric artist and congregant Shirley Waxman. It was dedicated in 1991.