Glass Shofar Radiates at Temple Kol Emeth
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Glass Shofar Radiates at Temple Kol Emeth

Local artist Paul Heller thinks big and creates even bigger using glass.

After 37 years with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and now with the AJT, , Jaffe’s focus is lifestyle, art, dining, fashion, and community events with emphasis on Jewish movers and shakers.

Artist Paul Heller created this Illuminated 10-foot shofar at Temple Kol Emeth in conjunction with the temple’s new logo.
Artist Paul Heller created this Illuminated 10-foot shofar at Temple Kol Emeth in conjunction with the temple’s new logo.

Local glass artist Paul Heller was showing Temple Kol Emeth’s senior rabbi, Larry Sernovitz, his works and studio. There began the inspiration for a meaningful project when the rabbi asked, “Have you seen the temple’s new logo? I think we could incorporate your art as part of our upcoming 40th anniversary initiatives.”

Six weeks later, the project was approved by the temple board, and Heller was off and running.

The newly-installed shofar spans 10 feet in the main lobby of the synagogue above the entrance windows to the social hall. Heller has received rave reviews like, “The glass shofar you made for TKE is astounding. Its beauty rendered me speechless. The colors are so vibrant. You are so very, very talented,” said congregant Sheri Siegel.

Heller created this 5-foot butterfly as part of the hope-themed mural for the Piedmont Cancer Institute Infusion Center.

Rabbi Sernovitz explained, “Kol Emeth in Hebrew translates to ‘the voice of truth.’ The most important sound in Judaism is the shofar, which is sounded throughout the high holidays. This is both a wake-up call to reflect and improve our lives, and the belief that miracles can happen in our everyday lives,” which explained why TKE members decided to have their new logo centered around the shofar. Congregant and graphic designer Jennifer Bienstock helped design both the new logo and the illuminated shofar. The new glass stayed true to the colors of the logo except for using more dynamic coloration for the four sound waves.

Heller weighed in, saying, “The shofar also has broader symbolic interpretations. TKE has always been very involved in the broad Cobb community. The shofar represents the congregation’s active voice for community service along with hearing G-d’s voice for support and direction while studying and praying at the synagogue.”

Heller created this 3-foot-tall cardinal as a memorial for a client who, at an early age, lost his mother.

The project was a collaborative effort with Rachel Barich, both a TKE past president and currently the temple’s senior administrator. Rachel solved how additional vertical height could be created to allow the shofar to fill the entire space above the windows, allowing a 30 percent more visual expanse of glass.

Heller’s glass art topics are diverse. During February, he will install two more Atlanta projects, focused on healthcare and healing: a hope-themed mural at the Piedmont Cancer Institute Infusion Center on Howell Mill Road; and two butterflies flying towards a daisy with a Christopher Reeve quote, “When There is Hope, Anything’s Possible.” The total mural width is nine feet with both butterfly wing spans reaching five feet. Heller is also working on a pink breast cancer ribbon for the surgical physicians at Atlanta Breast Care’s reception area.

Recently, Heller created a cardinal for a client who, at 18 years old, lost his mother. Since she loved cardinals, Heller’s bird design brings comfort to the family.

Heller created a musical wall grouping of guitar and tenor saxophone.

Heller described his unique art forms as, “3-D, illuminated stained-glass creations involving a diverse skill set: advanced carpentry and glass skills, along with electronics. The art forms captivate people’s attention with its radiating and vivid colors.”

Visiting Nashville? See Heller’s illuminated musical instruments at hotels and live music venues. At The Local, near Vanderbilt University, is a five-piece drum set, piano, saxophone, guitar, and a four-foot-high wine bottle. In Stamford, Conn., at Landfall Navigation, an upscale outdoor marine retailer, there are two of Heller’s displays including illuminated sailboats, a 7-foot sailfish, and a sunfish.

Heller customizes his projects by collaborating with the client on theme, glass coloration and scale, and said, “My objective is to get my clients enthusiastic about all elements of the creation. Clients often contribute great ideas, and they have a wonderful time helping select the glass from a multitude of options.”

This 5-foot abstracted piano is at The Local live music venue and bar in Nashville, Tenn.

Heller’s art journey is an example that it’s never too late to pursue new endeavors.

Prior to age 55, his career included management consulting, hotel management and ownership, and teaching business courses at five Atlanta universities.

At 55, Heller and wife, Diane, enrolled in a mosaic class at Spruill Center for the Arts. With his love for live music, he chose to make a mosaic guitar. Ten years later he still seeks these adventures that spark his creativity and innovation of new techniques.

Paul and Diane Heller’s home was featured in the Atlanta Jewish Times Chai Style column in September 2018. For more information and a gallery of Paul’s work, visit

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