Img. ID: 140746
The multi-tiered Torah ark is situated in the centre of the eastern wall of the synagogue. The narrow steps which led up to it have not been preserved. The ark consists of two attached Corinthian columns flanking a pointed arch opening and bearing a cornice. The columns rest on volute brackets and are painted to simulate marble. A double arched panel enclosing the Decalogue rests on the cornice. It is surmounted by two regardant lions holding a crown and leaning on a medallion, inscribed: שויתי יי לנגדי תמיד (I have set the Lord always before me, Psalms 16:8).
Above the pointed arch opening of the ark is a painted and stucco composition of a curtain which curls on either side of the columns into two harp-shaped wings. These are decorated with a central large flower and foliate motifs. A pair of rampant griffins painted above the curtain supports a crown, below which are two hands spread in the priestly blessing (Blessing of the Cohanim).
The double arched panel has three attached colonettes decorated with flowers and leaves. The Decalogue written within the two arches closes with the verse והם חזקו בדק הבית לפק (based on Kings II, 12: 6 – they [the priests] repaired breaches of the house), which gives the date of the renovation of the synagogue in 1721. The panel is flanked by two stucco volutes.
According to an article by Yu. Lifshits, the Torah ark was not built simultaneously with the wall, which points to its later origin. The figures of the lions were probably made later than the rest of the ark. The columns of the second tier were decorated originally with curved vine scrolls, but later they were covered by plaster painted like marble.