The Twelve Tribes of Israel

Ascalon Studios, The Twelve Tribes Stained Glass Windows, Lower Merion Synagogue, Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania.

Ascalon Studios is a studio specializing in the creation of site-specific artworks. The studio was founded in 1977 by the Hungarian-born master sculptor and industrial designer Maurice Ascalon (1913-2003) and his son David Ascalon. The Twelve Tribes stained glass windows, designed for the sanctuary of Lower Merion Synagogue in Lower Merion, Pennsylvania, are contemporary interpretations of the symbols of the twelve tribes.

The patriarch Jacob had two sons each with his two wives, Leah and Rachel, and his two concubines, Zilpah and Bilhah. Each woman had two sons that engendered the tribes. Each tribe or son is described in one way or another and the symbols for the tribes have been derived from these descriptions. Starting at the top left the symbols are: the tribe of Benjamin: the wolf; the tribe of Issachar: the Sun, moon and stars; the tribe of Gad: tents; the tribe of Dan: Scales of justice; the tribe of Levi: Priestly breastplate; the tribe of Reuben: the mandrake; the tribe of Joseph: Palm tree and sheaves of wheat; the tribe of Asher: an Asherah pole; the tribe of Zebulun: a ship; the tribe of Naphtali: the gazelle; the tribe of Judah: the lion; the tribe of Simeon: the towers and walls of the city of Shechem.


Canaanite mother goddess

Relating to the priests, the people responsible for overseeing the system of religious observance, especially temple sacrifice, depicted in the Hebrew Bible.

a site with religious significance

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