By Shoshana Matzner Bekerman
Posted Jan 12 2005
Simcha Paluch, founder and president of Paluch Furniture (Judaica designs for synagogues) began his career by using his unique artistic talent to create Jewish unity.
Twenty years ago, Reb Paluch, the proud descendant of generations of Gerrer Hasidim, tried to find a suitable gift to present to the new Gerrer Rebbe upon assuming the leadership of the community.
Suddenly, Reb Paluch knew he had just the perfect gift! He would present the Grand Rabbi with a unique, ornate shtender (study table).
Until then, the shtender had always been associated with the Lithuanian rabbis. When the Gerrer Rabbi entered the shul for the first time on Shabbos, he was greeted with a new and unique shtender and total silence in the synagogue! None of the Hasidim had ever seen their rabbi pray at a shtender.
The Gerrer Rebbe accepted the gift with gracious appreciation and immediately put his siddur on the shtender and began to lead the prayers. Ever since then, the Gerrer Rebbes have used a shtender as a standard accessory in the synagogue.
This was an auspicious beginning for what was to become the Paluch Furniture (Judaica designs for synagogues worldwide).
After the destruction of the Temple, the prophet Hoshea proclaimed: "Let our lips replace our bulls (animals used in sacrifices)" (14:3). This verse is the plea of the Jewish people to the Almighty to accept our prayers in the place of the sacrifices which were offered when the Temple stood.
Today, our prayers are our sacrifices, and the synagogues are the mini Temples. The furniture in the Beit Haknesset - the ark, bimah, amud of the Hazan, and the seating must take into consideration the holiness of the site, and the heart of the Jew who comes to pray.
Paluch Furniture designs Judaica interiors in wood, marble and metal with Biblical motifs crafted in excellent taste for synagogues worldwide. Simcha Paluch, an artisan of worldwide renown, trains and supervises a staff of Orthodox young men in Israel to become expert and professional designers and artisans. This accomplishes the dual goal of creating excellent workmanship and providing a source of livelihood for many Orthodox families of Torah students in Israel.
A most exclusive sample of the Judaica art work produced by Paluch furniture was recently installed in the Rachmastrivka Congregation at 45th Street and 12th Avenue in Boro Park. The Aron Kodesh (Torah Ark) produced by Paluch stands 28 feet high and is made of wood with Biblical motifs such as the Kotel (Western Wall) and Kever Rachel carved along the entire surface.
News of the unique Aron Kodesh spread quickly throughout the community and crowds of people eager to see it lined up to view the new addition to the shul.
Reb Paluch also delivered a unique bimah and table for the Sefer Torah to Rabbi Menashe Klein's Ungvar Synagogue on 16th Avenue. The representation of the Kotel is expertly carved into the bimah. It is so realistic that one of the worshippers who came to see the new addition to the synagogue was so overwhelmed that he stood before the bimah and prayed the entire book of Psalms (Tehillim) facing the engraving of the Kotel!
Last year, Paluch Furniture installed an Aron Kodesh in Rabbi Feivel Cohen's Tomchei Torah synagogue on Ocean Avenue. That Ark is designed with a wooden dome with hand carved Biblical motifs. In the center hangs a copper crown with four eagles created by an artisan.
All of these unique Judaica furnishings have brought a new concept to the world of the synagogues in New York and around the world. Each creation is a work of art which captures the spirit of Jewish unity in a house of worship.
Reb Simcha Paluch is currently hard at work to complete a unique Aron Kodesh for the Satmar synagogue in Monsey. Experts who have seen the work in progress say that it is destined to be one of the most beautiful one in the world. It is composed of six pillars engraved by hand.
The "jewel in the crown" of Paluch's creations is to be found in the holy city of Jerusalem in the Dushinsky Synagogue on Shmuel Hanavi Street. That Aron Kodesh may be viewed on the Paluch Furniture website: .
One of the projects to be considered is the development of a synagogue tour in each country where Paluch furnishings has created a new spirit of unity in Judaica art.
Paluch Furniture (Judaica Designs) also creates works of art in seating, mechitzas, synagogue doors, Chairs of Elijah, Grand Rebbes' seats, and portable Aronot Kodesh. The reputation of Paluch Furniture - Judaic designs has spanned the globe to the extent that they have recently received requests for furnishings for mosques! That is a question for the rabbis to determine.