Chagall Windows is a set of 12 magnificent stained-glass windows, installed in 1962 in the synagogue of Hadassah medical center of Ein-Karem.
The Making of Chagall Windows
After the establishment of the state of Israel, it was decided to form a new medical center in the outskirts of Jerusalem, next to the village of Ein-Karem. The renowned Russian-Jewish artist, Marc Chagall, was commissioned to decorate the windows of the center’s synagogue. In 1962, after two years of work, the stained-glass windows were ceremoniously installed, marking Hadassah Women’s Organization’s 50th birthday.
Each window, about 8 by 11 feet in size, symbolizes one of the twelve sons of Jacob, from whom stemmed the twelve Tribes of Israel. The dominating color is dark blue, yet yellow, red and green characterize some of the pieces. Chagall’s main inspiration was Jacob’s blessings to his sons (Genesis 49) and Moses’ words to the twelve tribes (Deut. 33). He also combined a few themes from his childhood landscape in Vitebsk, Russia.
Some of the windows were damaged in the Six-Day War in 1967. When hearing of this, Chagall telegraphed the hospital the message ” Don’t worry about the windows! Worry about Israel. I’ll make you new windows.”
Indeed, a year later he repaired the damage, except for one glass in the panel of Issaschar that he left uncolored, in memory of the event.
Chagall windows are considered the most famous artwork of Marc Chagall in Israel.
Visiting Chagall Windows
Hadassah’s medical center synagogue is open Sunday to Thursday between 8:30 to 16:00. Parking is available in the hospital’s parking lots, and the entry fee is NIS 20.-
For a full appreciation of the site it is recommended to combine it with a guided day tour of Jerusalem.