The Jacobs family has donated a pair of stained glass windows to Temple Sinai to honor the memory of Warren Jacobs, a beloved member of the congregation — just in time for the High Holy Days. Featuring a tree motif, the windows were originally a gift to Warren on his 60th birthday in 2003 in recognition of his deep devotion to trees. A doctor and healer by profession, Warren was a storyteller and composer who shared his kindness and spirituality through music, poetry and reverence for trees, understanding their significance — spiritually, physically and symbolically.
His wife, Judie Jacobs, is an accomplished multimedia artist and art teacher who also co-chairs the Temple Sinai Fine Arts Committee. She reflected, “Warren’s journey through life was blessed with family and friends who enriched his search for spirituality. He was open to all sources of inspiration: study of Torah, music, art, family, friends and his professional life as a therapist. It is hoped that the windows’ new home at Temple Sinai will enrich the spiritual journey for those who view them.”
The window design incorporates Warren’s love of Marc Chagall’s stained glass Judaica. They were designed and created by Nancy Spanagel, a stained glass artist who previously owned Opus One Gallery at the Tula Art Center. The windows measure approximately 6’ x 7’, with a palette consisting primarily of shades of blue: royal, turquoise, with accents of mauve and green, and touches of sunny yellow and tangerine. The sturdy tree trunk and branches have been rendered in a rich mahogany brown. And the windows honoring Dr. Jacobs have now been installed on a wall by the side-door entrance to the building.
Judie recalled, “From the time I met Warren in the early 1970s, I learned of his appreciation and respect for trees. He gleaned from one of his favorite books, ‘The Alchemist,’ to follow his heart, pay attention and look for important signs along the way. Trees offered a sense of peace, and he felt a connection to a global community through sharing his experience with them.”
Judie remembered that Warren took strength from visiting his favorite tree in Tennessee, which was tragically struck by lightning: “There was nothing left but a huge stump. After getting over the shock of losing it, he thought if he had a story about this tree, surely others must have tales about theirs. So he proceeded to gather stories from all over the world about other special trees, edited the stories down to a manageable number, and published his beloved book as ‘Tree Stories.’”
Rabbi Ron Segal, the senior rabbi at Temple Sinai, shared fond memories: “Warren Jacobs, z”l, possessed a truly beautiful and unique neshama. He exuded a sense of grounded-ness and a spiritual essence which tended to elicit the best qualities from anyone and everyone with whom he davened, learned, sang, or simply conversed. Warren was a treasured member of our Temple Sinai family who is still dearly missed.
I learned about the beautiful stained-glass windows that flanked the Jacobs’ front door when I visited Warren and Judie at home. Knowing the windows were designed to reflect his love of trees, their presence at Sinai is even more special. I pass by the windows frequently, taking in their beauty and often pausing to recall the many ways Warren made an enduring impression. How truly fortunate our community is that these windows will endure as a source of inspiration for years to come.”
Jacobs’ daughter, Rebecca Jacobs Feldstein, concluded, “My dad taught me that when people think of you, you want them to smile, a trait I pass on to my children. These windows welcomed everybody into our home, and the light came through them at such a beautiful angle, it brought a wonderful warmth to the entry way. I’m thankful to see them up for all to enjoy at a place he loved so much, Temple Sinai. Now, more than ever, I feel his presence as warm light will continue to shine through, and people will smile and think of him as they walk past the windows.”