Chicago Loop Synagogue’s mid-century modern stained glass

Sandwiched between boring high-rises, the Chicago Loop Synagogue is one of those sacred spaces that make you say “Gah!”.

The building, constructed in 1957, is nothing special, but step inside…



Artist Abraham Rattner loaded his glass masterpiece with symbols of the Jewish faith.


And G-d said, “Let there be light a righteously funky sun.”


The yellow wheat-looking design is the Palm of Shins, a symbol from the fall Succoth festival



Here’s a sun and a shofar (the ram’s horn used during the high holidays.)


Mid-century modern menorah, can you dig?


A friendly, dad-joke-making member of the synagogue showed us the ark, where the Torahs are stored.

The Hebrew text on the door comes from Proverbs 3:17, 18:

Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.  She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.


The end of the Torah scrolls are intricately carved.  (I’ve never seen a Torah and not wanted to ask, “Could you unroll that for me, just a little?”)  All Torahs must be handwritten and can contain no errors.


Seriously people, this synagogue is in downtown Chicago and super easy to visit.  Pop in for some mid-century modern stained glass excitement (and if you’re lucky, a dad joke).

How we got to Chicago Loop Synagogue: train.
Where we slept: at home. Price: mortgage, assessments and utilities. Recommended: highly.


  1. Very cool – and to get a glimpse of your city.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Tricia! Chicago is a complicated and culturally wonderful city—I get so tired of reading one sided negative stories about it in the national press.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great. I love dad jokes. What were they called when I was a toddler?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They were still called dad jokes then too. You just didn’t know they were corny jokes because you were a toddler.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The first thing I remember my father saying was “groan”. That was in reply to a joke I made as a toddler. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You must have been a exceptionally bright toddler to be making jokes at that age!


      3. He may have groaned at something else, but I think it was the jokes I made.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks WOB. Quite a jump from the churches in Portugal. Lots of great glass in Chicago. Many people are unaware of the use of “stained” glass in Jewish places of worship. Thanks for this wonderful post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re more of a stained glass expert than me, Bruce, but I do love to look at it, in Portugal or Chicago! There are also several former synagogues (since converted to Christian churches) on the South Side with fascinating stained glass.


  4. Love the size and colour of the window, or is it more than one window, amazing anyway 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is all one window. You can see it from outside but they must have treated the exterior because there’s no way to tell just how amazing it is without going inside.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thats quite amazing how they have done it 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Very good article so I am going to reblog this one for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Reblogged this on Truth Troubles.


    1. Thanks for sharing, oldpoet56!


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