Don Dougan  sculptor
initial design sketches for Yahrzeit Memorial

  left: design for 6,000,000 'flames' design in large window

                       below: the placement of memorial shown in-situ
steps in the initial installation of the memorial board onto the wall
1. attaching the backer to the wall
2. attaching the hinged front to the backer
3. attaching the window
4. attaching the hinge cover
5. the holes for the plaques  have been drilled and
  engraved plates attached
The wall as Yahrzeit metaphor:
In the same way a wall must be built upon a solid foundation to give it strength, a strong faith is the necessary foundation to support a congregation of souls.

Just as a wall is assembled from individual blocks that are held together and support each other, a great group of people relies on the strength of the individuals working together to make up that greater whole.  The integrity of the structure as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts. 

The column symbolically holds up the roof of heaven that shelters those within the temple of worship. 

Two windows let in the light and knowledge of the souls who have passed beyond the walls of this world - specifically those six million who perished in the fires of the holocaust and those others who perished in the struggle to create the nation of Israel. 

The people, represented by the individual blocks making up this wall of remembrance, helped to create structure in the lives of those who remember them.  In the same way that this wall is not complete, the memory of these particular people’s lives is but a part of a much greater collective whole. 

Like the wall of the Temple in Jerusalem, to remember through this wall those souls who have passed from our lives will perhaps also help us to remember who we are, and who we want to be.

details of the finished design
The symbolic designs
are sandblasted into
the reverse of the

The stylized numerals that make the flames in the large window represents the six-million who died in the Holocaust, while the smaller window represents the flag of Israel.
Detail showing the engraved memorial plaques. 

The plaques are held in place with aluminum pins, though the two which are illuminated to make anniversary dates use the translucent acrylic pins.

The engraving is done to a uniform depth of  1/16 of an inch, and the recess filled with black paint.

After the initial selection and engraving of name plaques, all subsequent engraved additions are handled by the Congregation and the engraver, using blank plaques provided by the artist. 
The engraved dedication plaques on the column,
and below the large prayer text in Hebrew across the base.
(not shown to scale)
aluminum and stainless steel fabrication by
Scott Strader
Mercury Metals
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In 2001 the artist was commissioned to design a Yahrzeit memorial board for a local Atlanta synagogue.  The  work uses electric illumination through translucent acrylic to signify the anniversary dates of family and friends of members of the congregation who are chosen to be memorialized.

The work is mounted on the wall of the sanctuary with the illumination switched on while the sanctuary is in use.  Designs etched on the windows are illuminated with indirect lighting from fixtures recessed in the window frames.  The individual memorial plaques are placed on the sixteen rows of blocks of 'masonry' [space provided for a total of 254 memorial plaques], and the engraved memorial plaques are held in place with aluminum pins.  The anniversary dates are marked by replacing the aluminum pin with a translucent illuminated acrylic pin. The illumination is provided by fixtures hidden behind the aluminum front which is hinged on the left so as to provide maintenance access.
Yahrzeit Memorial - Congregation Beth Tefillah
aluminum, stainless steel, glass, acrylic pins, electric illumination, engraving
78" x 120" x 6"