A Work of Faith and a Labor of Love: Community Day School Receives a Holy Ark for its Sanctuary

The Giving Coast

Pictured: Dr. Steve Hiller in front of the Aron Kodesh he built for Community Day School. Photo courtesy of the Hershorin Schiff Community Day School.

Great work can have small beginnings. For some, that’s a proverbial truth. For Parrish resident Dr. Steve Hiller, it’s a personal experience. The great work he recently created began with a simple request. He was asked if he could build an “Aron Kodesh” for Community Day School’s new sanctuary. Aron Kodesh means “holy ark” In Hebrew—an ornamental chamber for the Torah scrolls. A simple object with a holy purpose. For Dr. Hiller, a retired physician, woodworking was his only hobby, not a profession. But his father, Milton Hiller was a machinist who poured his artistry into carpentry in his spare time. His work in the machine shop paid the bills. His woodwork at home was a labor of love. The project took 11 long months to complete. Dr. Hiller spent 60 hours alone simply crafting the letters of the Ten Commandments. Dr. Hiller’s creation is stunning. The ark is 5 feet, 3 inches tall by 50 inches wide—created with walnut wood that he stained with a deep red mahogany. He’s delighted to gift it to Community Day School but says that creating it was “a gift of God to me. It was a holy experience. And it also brought me closer to my father in a way I never thought possible.”

Dan Ceaser, CDS’s Head of School, says that, thanks to Steve Hiller, and the Rosin Family who gave a five-year gift to Community Day School, and others, the sanctuary has “transformed into a treasured space for not only our students but the community at large. Here, we hold religious, spiritual, and educational classes, including Jewish culture, religion, choral music, leadership, astronomy, and even yoga. As a sacred space it’s also a constant reminder of our goal to create an inclusive campus culture where students of diverse backgrounds, affiliations, and practice feel comfortable exploring their own connection to Judaism. We welcome our community to witness the joy and wonder that fill our halls, walls, and beyond."

Pictured: Dr. Steve Hiller in front of the Aron Kodesh he built for Community Day School. Photo courtesy of the Hershorin Schiff Community Day School.

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