Chagall Windows

Depicting Jacob’s blessings to his sons, the Twelve Tribes of Israel,

The Synagogue of the Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center was dedicated on February 6th, 1962, as part of Hadassah’s Golden Anniversary celebration. The floors and interior walls are made of Jerusalem Stone, and the Synagogue is illuminated by a hanging lantern and by sunlight which streams through the magnificent Chagall Windows.

The Windows represents the 12 sons of the Patriarch Jacob, from whom came the Twelve Tribes of Israel. Chagall’s Windows are populated by floating figures of animals, fish, flowers, and numerous Jewish symbols. To fully understand the significance of the Windows they must be viewed against Chagall’s deep sense of identification with the whole of the Jewish history, its tragedies and victories, as well as his own personal background in the shtetl of Vitebsk, where he was born and grew up. “All the time I was working,” he said, “I felt my father and my mother were looking over my shoulder, and behind them were Jews, millions of other vanished Jews of yesterday and a thousand years ago”.

But it was the bible which provided his main inspiration, particularly Genesis 49, where Jacob blesses his 12 sons, and Deuteronomy 33, where Moses blesses the Twelve Tribes. The dominant colors used in each window are inspired by those blessings as well as by the Description of the breastplate of the High Priest in Exodus 28:15, which was colored gold, blue, purple, and scarlet, and contained 12 gems including emeralds, turquoise, sapphire, blue jacinth, agate, beryl, lapis lazuli and jasper.

Visiting hours:
You are most welcome to visit the famous Chagall Windows at the Hadassah Medical Center at Ein Kerem, Jerusalem.
Guided tours of the Synagogue are conducted in English and other languages as follows:
Sunday – Thursday, 8:00 a.m. – 1:15 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.