The Benjamin Window


Marc Chagall, The Benjamin Window from the Twelve Tribes stained glass installation, 1962, The Abbell Synagogue at the Hadassah University Medical Center, Jerusalem.

When the Hadassah organization began planning a hospital on the western edge of Jerusalem in the 1950s, it asked Chagall to adorn the small synagogue. He took his inspiration from Jacob’s deathbed blessings on his twelve sons. Chagall surrounded the worship space with twelve windows, each about eleven feet tall and eight feet wide. Completed in 1961, they were displayed in Paris and New York before being installed in Jerusalem in 1962.

Chagall’s poetic interpretation of the iconography of the twelve tribes is dreamlike and more about family than heraldry.