After the completion of the Sanctuary of Sephardic Temple in 1964, attention was given to the space left for a Chapel that is backed by an internal garden. The vision of the Founding Temple Members was to continue the architectural scheme of the Temple that drew inspiration and paid homage to Sephardic ancestry.
In 1966, Founding Member Jack Baker called upon the Council General of Spain for Special Exhibitions. The unique mission of the Sephardic Temple was discussed as well as the importance of the ties of Sephardic Judaism to roots in Spain, with regard to the antisemitism of Jews in Spanish history and ultimately the expulsion of Jews. As a symbol of contrition and fellowship, Spain gifted funds to the Sephardic Temple toward the construction of this special sacred space.
Materials needed for the construction of the Chapel were shipped from Spain and later installed. As in the Sanctuary, a Byzantine style was looked to for inspiration. The plan for the Chapel was modeled after the synagogue in Toledo that served as the last Jewish place of worship before the Inquisition. This synagogue in Toledo was also the source for the zodiac design in the Sanctuary above the Torah Ark - to read more about our Sanctuary, click here.
The artistic scheme is both creative and evocative and lends to an exceptional Sephardic Iberian flavor. The doors of the Torah Ark (Heikhal) are intricately carved in wood and feature an old Jewish symbol - the eight-pointed star. These Heikhal doors, pews (banca), terracotta floor tiles, and entrance doors were manufactured in Spain. Additionally, the metal sconces that punctuate the walls were sculpted by local artists in Toledo. Even the Mezuzah on door aligns with the stylistic vision of the space. All elements work cohesively, leaving a lasting impression.
The Chapel remains original, with no changes made since its consecration, and is used for daily Minyan services Sunday to Friday as well as holydays and special occasions.