The Shul at Loon Lake
The Loon Lake Jewish Center, about two-thirds of the way between Plattsburgh and Saranac Lake, New York, is a log cabin, a former hunting lodge, consisting of one large square room that serves as the sanctuary; an adjoining back room with a refrigerator, sink, and table; and a small corner bathroom with toilet and sink. Until about 10 years ago, a moose head hung above the blocked-up fireplace in the main room, but a humorless caretaker had it removed as an offense to the spirit of the place.
At one end of the main room is a wooden ark holding a Torah scroll that is taken out during the service and unfurled for reading. The velvet Torah mantle, the breastplate that covers it, the curtain before the ark, and the cloth covering the large lectern on the bimah—the raised platform with the reading table on which the Torah is spread out—were all carved or embroidered by members of the congregation in honor of deceased relatives.
About the Author
Ruth R. Wisse is the Martin Peretz professor of Yiddish and professor of comparative literature at Harvard. She is the author most recently of Jews and Power (Nextbook/Schocken).