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Transcript of interview with Jon Sparer by Barbara Tabach, March 4, 2015







In this interview, Jon Sparer discusses his involvement as the architect of Congregation Ner Tamid's synagogue in Green Valley. He explains details of the building including the concrete tilt-up form, glass windows and the incorporation of quotes throughout the building. Sparer also discusses his involvement with the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada (The Center) as a board member.

According to architect Jon Sparer, when he moved to Las Vegas in the early 1980s, the art of the deal was still based on a "handshake." It was just after the infamous MGM fire and Jon went to work for Rissman and Rissman. He later worked for Marnell Corrao Associates until 2001, and then as a principal in his own firm. He is now retired. While honing his design skills with the exciting transformation of the Strip into a world-class destination, Jon also became an active contributor to the Las Vegas community. Among his most notable experiences was being on the search committee for a new location for the fast growing Congregation Ner Tamid and then the architectural design for the synagogue's location in Henderson. It was a unique experience and Jon tells how he approached each aspect of the religious facility and how it would provide a memorable setting for life experiences. Jon has been involved with Jewish Family Services and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). In addition, Jon along with his husband John Klai have been instrumental in the LGBTQ community and the opening of the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada [The Center]. In this interview, he also talks about the significance of The Center/ and its success in working with the Clark County Health District, as well as providing a user-friendly experience for all who visit The Center and the Bronze Cafe located there.

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Jon Sparer oral history interview, 2015 March 04. OH-02282. [Transcript]. Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


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AN INTERVIEW WITH JON SPARER An Oral History Conducted by Barbara Tabach The Southern Nevada Jewish Community Digital Heritage Project Oral History Research Center at UNLV University Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas ?Southern Nevada Jewish Community Digital Heritage Project University of Nevada Las Vegas, 2014 Produced by: The Oral History Research Center at UNLV - University Libraries Director: Claytee D. White Project Manager: Barbara Tabach Transcriber: Kristin Hicks Interviewers: Barbara Tabach, Claytee D. White Editors and Project Assistants: Maggie Lopes, Stefani Evans ii The recorded interview and transcript have been made possible through the generosity of a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Grant. The Oral History Research Center enables students and staff to work together with community members to generate this selection of first-person narratives. The participants in this project thank University of Nevada Las Vegas for the support given that allowed an idea the opportunity to flourish. The transcript received minimal editing that includes the elimination of fragments, false starts, and repetitions in order to enhance the reader's understanding of the material. All measures have been taken to preserve the style and language of the narrator. In several cases photographic sources accompany the individual interviews with permission of the narrator. The following interview is part of a series of interviews conducted under the auspices of the Southern Nevada Jewish Community Digital Heritage Project. Claytee D. White Director, Oral History Research Center University Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas iii PREFACE According to architect Jon Sparer, when he moved to Las Vegas in the early 1980s, the art of the deal was still based on a "handshake." It was just after the infamous MGM fire and Jon went to work for Rissman and Rissman. He later worked for Marnell Corrao Associates until 2001, and then as a principal in his own firm. He is now retired. While honing his design skills with the exciting transformation of the Strip into a world-class destination, Jon also became an active contributor to the Las Vegas community. Among his most notable experiences was being on the search committee for a new location for the fast growing Congregation Ner Tamid and then the architectural design for the synagogue's location in Henderson. It was a unique experience and Jon tells how he approached each aspect of the religious facility and how it would provide a memorable setting for life experiences. Jon has been involved with Jewish Family Services and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). In addition, Jon along with his husband John Klai have been instrumental in the LGBTQ community and the opening of the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada [The Center]. In this interview, he also talks about the significance of The Center/ and its success in working with the Clark County Health District, as well as providing a user-friendly experience for all who visit The Center and the Bronze Cafe located there. iv TABLE OF CONTENTS Interview with Jon Sparer March 4, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada Conducted by Barbara Tabach Preface iv Tells of coming to Las Vegas in 1981, post-MGM fire; working as architect for Rissman and Rissman firm and then Marnell Corrao until 2001. Describes the handshake and napkin deals of the past, knowing Jewish developers and eventually joining Congregation Ner Tamid. After being asked by former Ner Tamid president Jerry Gordon to be the architect for the new temple. The search for property began; I-215 was under construction; property donation by Greenspun family and the overall goal they were after for the temple look as they reflected on the old location and the goals of the rabbi 1 - 6 Begins describing the decision-making that went into the general allocation of spaces; mentions Jane Radoff who was the interior decorator. Explains "concrete tilt-up" construction used; steel gates at entrance; use of glass windows. Stained glass used only in one place, what he refers to as "Alison's Wall" due to his daughter's involvement; quotes on the stone wall of Joyce and Jerome Mack Sanctuary 6 - 9 Explains the influence of his Jewish youth experiences on designing the synagogue; striking effect of clear windows instead of solid walls or stained glass; the importance of the Ark to him, the quotes used on side panels, and six Torah mantel patterns; large size of the bema; cry room and placement of bema. Elaborates on what they saved and incorporated from the previous temple 10 - 14 Talks about other spaces and uses they identified as they began the architectural design of Ner Tamid, the social hall and other meeting space; making the flexible spaces suitable for many uses; Rabbi's office and library; school needs; designing the memorial gardens and yahrzeit plaques 15 - 18 Future expansion options and considerations; Judaica store location; Early Childhood Education Center talked about. Cell tower placement and design. Talks about making a Jewish building Jewish, use of symbols. Satisfaction with this project of designing Congregation Ner Tamid; how it connected him to Judaism; appreciation to Jerry Gordon for his belief that he could design the synagogue 19 - 22 Explains his involvement with The Center and being on board of directors for Gay and Lesbian Community Center for past seven years; capital campaign and renovation of an old building for the Center; increased budget and cooperation with the Clark County Health District and transformation of The Center into one for all. Involved with several organizations that include: Jewish Family Services, The Center, ADL, LGBTQ Passover Seder 23 - 27 v Adapting his casino architecture experiences to other projects; more about The Center, SDT testing and Health District; lessons of listening; importance of Bronze Cafe at The Center; his husband John Klai and him being the Two Johns 27 - 39 Appendix: notes from January 2015 presentation to Congregation Ner Tamid 40 - 45 Index 46 vi Today is March fourth, 2015. This is Barbara Tabach and I'm sitting at Congregation Ner Tamid with Jon Sparer. And you were just telling me you've been here since the early 1980s. Yeah, I moved here in July of 1981. So getting on to thirty-four years. That's a chunk of time. What brought you here? Well, a funny story, actually. My future ex-wife was an architect, also. We were living in L.A. She was working for an architect in Beverly Hills that did all the casinos back in the sixties and seventies. When the MGM, which is now Bally's, burned in 1980 in November, they sent her out here to supervise the reconstruction. So we were dating. They gave me a plane ticket every weekend to come out and visit. By the end of that project, her office asked her to stay here and open up a field office. Living in L.A. was fun for about four or five years that we were there, but it was so expensive and it was like, okay, let's move to Las Vegas. Had you ever imagined yourself living here? Oh, never. Never. I'm living in Las Vegas because of an electrical short in a pie display case in a restaurant in a casino. Explain that. That's an interesting story. It is; it's very interesting. But when I moved here in '81, Summa Corporation, which was Howard Hughes, owned five casinos, which bordered on a monopoly as far as the Gaming Control Board was concerned even though that one of the casinos was probably three thousand square feet; it was tiny. It was the Desert Inn, Sands, Castaways, Silver Slipper and the Frontier. And the other big client of the office?and this was Marnell Corrao Associates?was Caesars Palace. Other than that it was just vacant land up and down the Strip. The Strip was a shortcut for getting anywhere because there was no traffic. There was nothing on the Strip. It was big 1 open lots. Interesting. So that's who you went to work for was Marnell Corrao? When I moved here I worked for another architect. The other architect that did the casinos was Rissman and Rissman, Homer Rissman, a wonderful, wonderful man. I was working with Homer on a Steve Wynn project that was going to be where the Wet'n'Wild site is?was on the Strip next to the Sahara. Just south of the Sahara was going to be a new mega resort, the first one. We worked on that project for about two and a half months with Steve Wynn. All he had was the Golden Nugget at the time. That could see it wasn't going anywhere. So I got a job over at Marnell Corrao, which they're design and build; they're contractors and architects. Like I said, their big clients were Summa Corporation and Caesars. We would just do projects. You would do projects based on a handshake. You'd do sketches on a napkin and they'd start building the next week. It was just an amazing period of time in this town. Oh, wow. I can see we need to make that the subject of another conversation. Oh, it was. It was absolutely fantastic. Because that's a far cry from...the purpose that brings us here together is about? Well, and how small the town is, is we did some work?we did mostly all hotel/casinos at the time. But Irwin Molasky was the big developer in town. Tony [Marnell] had done some work for him out at Maryland Parkway by Sunrise Hospital before I started there. But I ended up as the new kid in the office remodeling Molasky's penthouse up in Regency Tower in the middle of Las Vegas Country Club way back when. So again, just a small world when we're talking certainly about the Jewish community here. Had you plugged into the Jewish community as far as you having a synagogue or anything when you first moved here? 2 No. When I got married we had a daughter. When she was about six or?well, she was probably about seven. We joined Congregation Ner Tamid for Alison for religious school and for her Bat Mitzvah. So that's why we joined. Well, she was named at Temple Beth Sholom, but we were never active. So we belonged to Congregation Ner Tamid. Alison had a great Bat Mitzvah. We love Rabbi [Sanford] Akselrad. But we really are twice-a-year Jews, as we like to call ourselves, and never that involved in the Jewish community. I wasn't all those years. I'd come to temple twice a year. I'd support them financially. Over the years they had asked me to join the board. I got on the board, but I was always a quiet member on the board and just it wasn't..! wasn't that engaged with it emotionally. I left Marnell Corrao, retired a few years back in '99 and opened up a new office with two of my Marnell friends who had also left Marnell in 2001. We were really a very small office, just about wanting to do anything. And Jerry Gordon called me up and said, "Jon, we're going to move the Temple. Would you guys be the architects?" What did you think about that? And I said, "Jerry, I've never done a temple." Actually, my experience even at Marnell Corrao I designed the Shrine of the Most Holy Redeemer for the Catholic Church off Las Vegas Boulevard by Tropicana. So that was my experience with religious architecture, which that's a whole other story as it was as well. But to me architecture is architecture and it's just studying and just being sensitive to the needs of what a building needs to be. I was reluctant. I told Jerry I didn't want to deal with committees because our jobs that we'd always had with the hotel/casinos, we always had strong clients that could make decisions and you'd move. And Jerry told me, he says, "Jon, I promise that you will not have to deal with a committee." I said, "Okay, Jerry, you've got a deal; we'll do it." 3 And we did and we spent a lot of time looking around town for the piece of property because the old temple was over on Emerson off Eastern Avenue, like by Flamingo and Desert Inn, the old part of town, which forty years ago was the perfect place to be. And it was forty years ago; we just had our fortieth anniversary. But Jerry and a bunch of smart guys like Jerry? and Jerry, I think, was the ringleader?just was recognizing that everybody was moving to Green Valley or Summerlin or the outlying areas. The number of kids in the religious school every year was going down, the membership was going down, and the temple was really going to be dying if we didn't do something about it. We spent a lot of time talking about where the temple would go because we had people in Henderson, we had people in Summerlin, and the temple, as it was, was in the center of town. It was equally inconvenient for everybody because it was just difficult to get to. I came to it from Summerlin. The 215 was just in the process of being built. So there was a lot of new development along the Beltway 215. We were really serious on a piece of property off Sunset right by the curve of 215 on the west side and I had actually done some scheming; the office and I had done schemes, preliminary plans on it. And it was a challenged piece of property because it was a big wash that went right through the front of it. I saw it as an opportunity and we had these bridges crossing from the street over on to the property, which even the rabbi liked because we have some symbolism happening with leaving the secular, coming across onto the religious. But then the Greenspun family stepped up and they offered the property that the congregation is on now as a gift to the congregation. I can tell you, at the groundbreaking, Brian Greenspun?it was Brian?he said, "The end of our dream is the beginning of yours." Because this was the last piece of the original Green Valley property that the Greenspun family had bought. So it was their last piece of property that was the end of their dream; it was the beginning of our dream. It 4 was wonderful. Nice symbolism. It was; it was just absolutely fantastic. So the fact that it's further from Summerlin, but it's right off the 215, I believe, has worked. Demographically, I believe there are more families in the Henderson area that are temple members than Summerlin, but you'd have to ask Roberta Unger. But I believe that even the people from Summerlin are still members. I know I am and it's fifteen minutes, twenty minutes. So that was this piece of property. So the conversations that I had with the rabbi and with Jerry and with the committee for the new Temple, the same descriptions of what we wanted the temple to be kept coming up. We wanted it to be warm. We wanted it to be friendly. We wanted it to be inviting. That was the most important thing that was so important. We talked about a campus. I don't think anybody in the room really knew what a campus meant, but they liked the idea of a campus. I purposefully did not go see [new] Beth Sholom. It just opened up. To be honest, I've never been inside Beth Sholom. Oh, really? I've never been in Beth Sholom. And it's a different temple and I know the architect and they chose a different direction to go with their architecture and their interiors. Again, I've never seen it. But we wanted something warm, friendly and inviting. So as we were working on it, the program..! don't want to say it grew, but it was visionary and...There's another word I'm looking for and I can't think of it. But anyway, we wanted to be able to expand. We wanted a master plan that we could keep growing; the school could keep growing. We would have an early childhood development center. We could have an adult education and a healing center the rabbi wanted in the future, ball fields. The rabbi really 5 wanted a lot for the kids. He wanted to be able to be out and kick a ball around on a grass with the kids. It was really important. Unfortunately, that didn't make it into the first scheme of things, but that's okay. Architecture is all about compromise and priorities and the most important thing was getting what we have now here. When we started with the campus, one of the things that we had from the old building was a relatively long walk from the parking lot to the front doors to the temple into the lobby. That was some of the conversation from the seniors; to them it was a long walk. Architecturally, unless you really put the sanctuary and the lobby right up front, it's a little difficult to overcome. What we did here is with the campus is we created...instead of it just being a long sidewalk entry, we created a space, which is our main entry courtyard, as a space itself, saying, you know what? We need a place for all the schmoozing that goes on before and especially afterwards when everybody is doing their thirty-minute goodbyes. That took away the curse of saying it's a longer walk from the parking lot to the lobby because now it's a very tree-shaded little park that we've created there with benches and it's a pleasant space. It's a beautiful space. What we did was we separated that courtyard with some arbors and two entrances, purposefully creating an entry point to demark that you're leaving the parking lot, you're leaving the secular world, you're going through a portal and you're coming into a more sacred space. Oh, wow, okay. When you go to Disneyland?people don't realize this, but when you go to Disneyland and you leave the parking lot and you get through all the turnstiles, you go underneath the railroad bridge to go into Disneyland and that was Disney's way of saying you're leaving that world and you're coming into my world. Well, this is what we did here. We said, you know what? It's very 6 deliberate. It's an entrance. That's no longer there. You're inside this separate space. And it works. It's a very nice space. We put the offices on the front side along the parking lot because that's where the business stuff goes. So we wanted people to be able to park and go into the office, take care of business, not anything to have to do with the religious side of the temple, the spiritual side, because that's separate. You've got to do business? Well, do your business and then you go. But let's keep the business out of the spiritual part of the building. So the space that we're sitting in right now with the conference rooms, this is just a total entity of itself. This is an entity in itself. There is the back door on to the bema, which is the access for the rabbi. Again, the change from the old temple and if you remember, if you recall, the offices were right off the bema. They would do a processional from the back of the room through the sanctuary. The way we laid it out here we couldn't do that because there was no way to go from the offices to the back of the sanctuary without walking either outside or seeing everybody. It was just, again, the rabbi and everybody talked about it. We deliberately talked about some of the pageantry and how do you deal with this and what do we do? It was interesting conversations. On the outside of the ark on the front of the building, it's an oval shape, that goes up above behind this office that we're in now, there is stained glass tiles, glass tiles that go up the front of the building and along that sloping bit of roof, and that is depicting the burning bush of the Word of God. So that's part of the symbolism that we wanted to express on the outside of the building about what we're all about. The colors of building that we used here?and Jane Radoff would be a good person for 7 you to talk to, too. ... Well, I've known Jane because she worked for Steve Wynn and so I worked with her for all these projects.. .She helped with the interiors and she was the one that came back with the, "Jon, for the colors of the buildings, there's seven spices of Israel in the Bible?wheat, barley, grape, olive, fig, pomegranate and honey, date and honey." So those are the colors that you see all around the buildings, are all those?the purples, the greens, the olive, the different tones of the creams and the?it's wonderful?the pomegranates, the reds. Oh, it's beautiful. And it works with the desert here. So I loved it. Yes, it does. The actual structure of the building is concrete tilt-up. You're looking at me like you don't know. I don't know what that is. So when you drive around town in the more industrial areas along the freeway and you see these boxy buildings that are just cubes, those are typically concrete tilt-ups. What it is, is they pour a concrete slab on the ground and they tilt it up and that's the wall. It's about the cheapest way to build. Well, we did the temple with concrete tilt-up. But there is something like a hundred and eighty-five different panels in this building, in this complex, and most of them are separate from each other as free-standing planes. So when you're in the sanctuary on either side of the glass and you have these fins in between the glass, those are concrete tilt-up panels. So it's an inexpensive material, but we were really creative on how to use it so that, again, we could save money on the structure of the building and spend it elsewhere and have fun with the forms; so that was a big piece of business as far as just how do we build the building. The entrance?well, the rabbi really wanted to make sure that the building portrayed the Judaica of temple. So there's a lot of Hebrew sayings throughout the temple. Again, he was very 8 instrumental. I would find places and he would recommend places and then he would come back with the sayings. Then we would show him how we wanted to do the letters. So we worked very closely with the rabbi. Like at the gates leaving the sidewalk to come in? What are the gates made out of? They're steel. And there's concrete panels, too, and it's steel. But the quotes on the entry gates say, "The study of Torah is equal to all the Commandments." So that's very cool. The entrance into the lobby off the courtyard, the only stained glass in the building is along that front wall and it's composed of Jewish stars. Coincidentally, my daughter Alison was working for the Cleo Design, the designers that did all the interiors. So she got to design that. So that's kind of cool for me personally. Oh, that is. To me that's Alison's wall. So that's cool. In the lobby, again keeping with the quotes, in the center of the ceiling is kind of a medallion and it looks like a pomegranate. The quote is, "God redeems the souls of his servants." It's from Psalms. The rays of light that come out around it, they were redesigned to look like shofars and we changed the number to be eighteen for "life." Oh, how cool. Yeah, it's very cool. The big quotes?that are on the stone wall next to the main sanctuary. The Joyce and Jerome Mack Sanctuary, there's English on one side and Hebrew on the other. So I think most people know it. "Let them build me a sanctuary that I might dwell within." That's from the Torah. The inside of the sanctuary...this was a big question from me to the rabbi because I really thought I was going to get resistance. I wanted to have windows from the sanctuary to the 9 outside and I didn't want stained glass. I wanted to be able to see out. Why was that? Because when I was a kid growing up in Woodmere, New York, and our sanctuary?it was an old house. It was a small temple, didn't have any windows. And I would sit there bored out of my mind and I just thought, wouldn't it be cool to see what was going on outside? And I believe we already had a donor that had already said they wanted to donate the stained glass. So when I brought it up to rabbi?he is so great. He has the best sayings. He just thinks about it for a minute. And he looked at me and he says, "Jon," he goes, "There is a quote"?let me see if I can find it. ... Oh, it's from Pirkei Avot, which I didn't even know what it is. But it says, "Do not separate yourself from the community." It was like a commandment. He says, "Jon, while you're in prayer, you should still be part of the community." He goes, "I have no problem with that." And so we did; we have glass on both sides and they're both into gardens. So one side is the entrance courtyard; the other side is the King David Gardens. I have to say the first time my husband and I ever came here was for a friend's bar mitzvah and we weren't members here at that time. That was the first thing that struck me...I guess maybe the second thing because the colors automatically draw you in. But the windows instead of (solid walls or stained glass)?just being open into the gardens. I wanted that so bad. They had to go back to this one large donor and say that we're not going to use stained glass. And what did he say? Well, I think they were a strong personality, anyway. I don't know how it went. But again, it was important and part of the thing that I told you about the pageantry of rabbi and cantor and people from the bema being able to come up from the back and walk up, well, with the windows 10 on both sides there was no connection then from the offices to the back of the building of the sanctuary anymore. And it was; that was probably one of the...we had one committee meeting and that was probably the one thing that got people going, the one committee meeting that I was asked to present to. But it was, again, people not getting out of how it's always been. This is going to be different. A lot of people don't understand that until they see it and I understand that. I appreciate that. So that was a big thing. Then the next thing that I talked to Rabbi [Akselrad] about, because the Ark was a big thing to me, too. I always thought that having a hole in the back wall with a pair of doors to the arc to me just seemed boring. I've been to my nephews' bar mitzvahs back in New York up in Rochester and been in some of these sanctuaries, some of these temples that are a hundred and something years old, big ones. There was one bar mitzvah we went to and they must have had like four rows of Torahs and this massive Ark and it was just gorgeous. So I started drawing the whole concept of an arc that you could even walk around and walk inside. Again, I wasn't sure how Rabbi was going to respond to that. He didn't miss a beat. He said, "Jon, metal is a symbol of war." He goes, "I love having it as fabric with no metal." So we commissioned?there are a few Judaica artists out there in the world?more than a few?and we commissioned the Ark and the two side panels that are up on the wall there... Jeanette Kuvin Oren who was just delightful to work with. She's from back east. With the Rabbi we talked about what symbols, what should be on the fabric? With the interior people we talked about the colors. So she knew the colors. On the curtain is the quote, "Let there be light," from Genesis. The wall hangings on either side of the arc reflect core Jewish values of compassion and love. The left one says, "Torah guides us to a life of caring." The one on the right says, "Grant universal peace." 11 When you look at them, you can see that the bottom third of it is removable. So for different holidays we have different pieces that go back on there. As time goes on?there's a Jewish holiday every week?we can keep having more of these made. But the idea is, is how do you change the sanctuary to represent a different holiday without going too crazy? So again, Jeanette was fantastic with that. She has since made, I think, all the Torah covers in there and there's six Torah mantel patterns that represent significant biblical events?the Creation, Jacob's dream, the Burning Bush, Miriam leading the Israelites, the Still Small Voice, and the Giving of the Ten Commandments at Sinai?and you walk into the Ark to get it. So it's a very spiritual space that you're not just pulling something out of a hole in the wall or a cabinet in the wall, you're walking inside the Ark and taking it off. Wow. That's beautiful. So it's very cool. I learned a lot doing this project. It was a wonderful project. The bema is very large and, again, deliberately so. It's not very deep, but it's very wide. All the seats were pulled in close and that way I wanted to get as many people up front and have the furthest row not being very far from the bema. I wanted everybody to feel like they were part of what was happening on the bema. How many seats are in the permanent area? If I remember, it was like three hundred and twenty-five or so. I'd have to look that up. I don't remember. But then you can open up the walls and we can go up to twelve, fourteen, fifteen hundred or whatever it is. I'm sure they could really pack in people with the movable chairs. But that was really important. Rabbi was very strong in his wish to have a lot of technology. Again, when we did this temple, technology was there, but you didn't have it. And he really wanted to be able to have (it) 12 ?we have those big roll-down screens that come down. We have cameras that shoot straight down over the Torah when it's being read. The temple does live Web broadcasting for people that can't come. It's a fantastic thing. We have the cry room in the back of the room. The cry room? There's a room right off the lobby that if you have small children and if they're crying, you could go in this room. It's a glass wall to the sanctuary. There are speakers in there. You can hear what's going on. There's toys in there for the kids. But that way if your child is being rambunctious, you could still be there, hear the service, be there, but it's not disrupting the whole sanctuary. The Beit Tefillah [worship space], a great story with the Beit Tefillah?again, having windows out to the courtyard. Oh, and the bema faced east; that was very important. Again, when you design a temple, you should be facing east to Jerusalem. So that's a criteria that you have to adhere to? You don't have to, but that's certainly a request when you're designing temples. The world won't fall apart if you don't, but the congregation should be facing Jerusalem. For us it's facing the east. So again, that's why and where our sanctuary is. It faces east and we're facing Jerusalem. The sanctuary in the Beit Tefillah, you'll notice a lot of metal work in there, a lot of bronze metal work. There's wall sconces that are in the shape of shofars, which are actually in the lobby in the hallway down to the social hall. There's big menorah light fixtures on the walls. In the old Temple we had a lot of bronze Jewish stars on the pulpit furniture and up on the bema, as well as around the room. Again, Jane [Radoff] helped with this. There's a custom iron work company, Murray's Iron Works in Los Angeles. Ed Leisner is the owner, Jewish man. Jane 13 came to him and said, "Ed, would you help us?" This was the temple on Emerson when we expanded and did a new sanctuary there. "Would you help? We have some iron work to do in there." He looked at her and he said, "Jane, I'm a third generation iron monger. My grandparents were killed in the war. The highest honor an iron monger could do is to make something for their temple. Nobody has ever asked." That's very touching. But it was. He said, "Whatever you want." He came to the opening and he told the story. It was just... I'm so emotional. No. This is a sacred space. Yes and it's such a great story. Yes. So we saved as much as we could from the old Temple and we brought...those things were very important. The Ark doors, the Ark from the old Temple, is the art in the Beit Tefillah. We have big flowerpots on either side. Those were from the sanctuary from the old Temple. As well as here in the office, right behind the front desk there's a stained glass round window; that's from the old Temple. Right at the end of the hallway by the social hall is another round stained-glass window; that came from the old temple, as well. So we saved as much as we could. It's our history. The front doors from the old temple are in the sanctuary. They go from the sanctuary out to the courtyard, to the patio out there, are from the old Temple. So it was really important to take our history with us, as well. So the Beit Tefillah is a very cool place. Let's see. What else did we want to?social hall, we wanted?one thing I didn't know when I started designing the temple was how many meetings happen in a temple. Beyond the religious services, Friday night and Saturday and bar mitzvahs and weddings and life cycle-type 14 stuff, a lot of different groups use the temple for meetings, everything from men's club to women's club to the youth. But there is all kinds of twelve-step programs.