Stained Glass Studio

Valley Beth Shalom Synagogue Encino, CA, Stained Glass Restoration


                                                                                                                        Valley Beth Shalom outside facade


  Valley Beth Shalom Synagogue is the beautiful synagogue in Encino, California. The synagogue dates back to 1950 when three small congregations joined together and moved an old schoolhouse from Long Beach to the San Fernando Valley on Sepulveda Blvd. However, this rapidly became too small so the congregation moved to a small motel in the area. The end of the 1950's and beginning of the 1960's saw the congregation expand and build a permanent home. on the corner of Densmore and Ventura Blvd. The expansion of the synagogue saw tremendous increases in community participation including the Jewish youth. 

              Vbs damage 1          VBS Leading 2              Vbs mary 2         Nl vbs window

     As the 1960-'s came to a close a search for a new rabbi would see the congregation grow beyond anyone's wildest dreams. The construction of the main sanctuary included two contemporary stained-glass windows. One on either side of the Bima. The synagogue was truly off and running. Everything looked bright until on the evening of May 7th, 2003, a firebombing of the synagogue destroyed a large section of the Westerly stained glass window. As disturbing and frightful as this was there was overwhelming comfort when the valley community came together. "Where do you find the sparks of decency in tragedy? In the response of men and women of all faiths who, on the very next evening, gathered together in a prayer of solidarity at St. Cyril’s Catholic Church just two days after the fire-bombing. Men and women, Muslims, Christians, Jews, Baha’i, Armenian clergy, who sang and prayed and heard each other’s anguish and each other’s resolve to stand together to offer each other their houses of worship to those sanctuaries which were violated."

     Temporary repairs were made to the window, but it would be nearly 20 years before a total restoration would be completed. The restoration of the windows was a small part of a major expansion and remodel of the sanctuary and building itself. We were contacted at the end of 2023 to make a proposal for the repairs to the window. The temporary repair was in fact a hand painted reproduction of the stained glass done with acrylics on two sheets of 1/4" acrylic glass. There were still numerous broken pieces and smoke and burn marks on the adjacent areas. The windows were approximately 4' wide and 25' tall. They were made up in sections that were about 3 feet tall. After a thorough inspection we determined that the horizontal supports were far too weak to be reused. Each section was held in place by 1 1/2" aluminum H bar, we would replace these with 1" steel T bar. We removed both sets of windows, boarded up the openings with 1/2" plywood and brought them to out studio in Santa Monica. Once in the studio we soaked them in water, disassembled, and cleaned the pierces. Of course, we recycle all the old lead came.

                                                                                                            Vbs  w 2

     The glass was colorful cathedral glass manufactured by The Kokomo Opalescent Glass Company in Kokomo, Indiana. We have a wonderful relationship with Kokomo and use their glass often in restoration projects. Most of the glass was available from the local distributor (Hollander Glass Company in Stanton, CA.). The design was rectilinear with images of Hebrew letters and symbols as well at menorahs, Shabot candles, and other Jewish themes. All the paint was black creating a subtle feeling against the colorful background. The leading was a mixture of flat H ranging in width from 5/8" to 1".


      Therre were no images of the 3' x 12' section that had been destroyed so we used our imagination adding similar line work and colored glass. The restoration process took about 2 1/2 months including removal, acquiring the replacement glass, painting the images, fabrication and installation. We finished just in time for the reopening celebration.

                                                                                                       Nlvbs 2

 I have said many times that the joy in restoring religious windows cannot be matched. The wonderful feedback and love we get from the administration and members of the congregation are a payment that cannot be equaled. The windows are now ready to be inspiring and appreciated by many future generations. 

                * Thanks to Alberto Marquez(Chief Glazer), Jose Ceja, Armondo Colon, Mary Orrell our magnificent painter, and Bart Pachino of Valley Beth Shalom(Executive Director)

July 13, 2023

January 30, 2023

July 13, 2022

May 31, 2022

April 12, 2022

November 05, 2020

October 17, 2020

September 04, 2020

August 18, 2020

March 18, 2020


  • Don't Miss a Single Post!

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

Bookmark and Share
Blog powered by Typepad