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September 30, 2010 - Image 14

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2010-09-30

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I Spotlight



Bask in the beauty o
Beth Ahm's biblical landscape.

David Sachs I Senior Copy Editor
Brett Mountain I Photographer

t most synagogues, the prayer
leader cajoles daily worshipers
to be sure to arrive on time.
But at Congregation Beth Ahm in West
Bloomfield, it's suggested congregants
show up just a little early to meditate for a
moment before morning prayers.
The attraction?
An outdoor garden that offers an entic-
ing escape into the biblical Land of Israel.
The winding garden path adjacent to
the synagogue takes visitors, old and
young, on a journey through five high-
lights of Jewish history.


People enter at the lush Garden of
Eden, stroll past Abraham and Sarah's
open-sided tent, dampen the soles of their
shoes as they escape Egypt across the
parted Red Sea, step up to receive the Ten
Commandments at Mount Sinai and com-
plete the journey at the Temple's Western
Wall in Jerusalem.
Lining the path are 19 examples of
plants, flowers, trees and shrubs indig-
enous to the Bible (Tanach). Signs provide
a biblical reference for each plant. In
addition, beautiful mosaic murals explain
each of the five biblical scenes. A detailed

brochure provides further insight.
The Bible Garden idea began with
Dr. Doug Woll, a physician from West
Bloomfield who wanted to create a memo-
rial to his parents, Louis and Fay Woll, that
also would serve to beautify the landscape
of the synagogue. Doug's wife, Dr. Margo
Woll, a dentist, is the newly sworn-in
president of Beth Ahm.
The Woll family share a generational
devotion to the congregation, going back
to Doug's childhood days in Detroit when
the shul was known as Beth Abraham.
Doug's sister Mindy Dunn, who now lives

in Las Vegas with her children Brooke and
Bradley, was also part of the household.
The creative process began in 2008 with
a year of research and visits to bible gar-
dens in California. A year ago, Doug hired
Gary Roberts of Great Oaks Landscape
in Novi to help design and build the gar-
den. In addition, Beth Ahm Rabbi Steven
Rubenstein and Executive Director David
Goodman participated in the planning.
The five mosaic murals in the garden
were designed and created by Gary's
sister Gail Roberts, an artist in Tucson,
Ariz. Gail, coincidentally, was a classmate

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