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Temple Beth-El

Helena AR 

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The former Jewish synagogue, now the Delta Cultural Center, was donated to the State of Arkansas in 2006 for historic preservation and community use.  In a 1916 Neo-Classical building, the intricate glass dome of Temple Beth El was sinking. Swift attention was needed to protect history. 


Soos Stained Glass was contacted to preserve the domed skylight that had developed severe structural issues.  The dome panels were originally built with a complex concave and convex shape, built to swag down in a tent-like way, but the bottom portions of the panels were collapsing.  Such a distinctive work had to be preserved.   Working on scaffolding above the sanctuary, the extent of deterioration was evaluated and the skylight window removed.


The uniqueness of the design required custom-built packing crates to fit the fan-like shapes for secure transport. At the Soos Studio, work forms were designed and built in convex and concave styles to safely perform the delicate work required to restore this artwork. The Soos craftsmen cleaned the entire skylight, rebuilding as needed.  Broken glass was edge-glued and repaired with conservation-grade epoxy. Restoration-grade lead was used in the repairs.  Then, all the panels had new galvanized steel reinforcement added to support the dome.  It was reinstalled in its original frame to again grace the sanctuary.  Beth El Heritage Hall was dedicated as a community arts center in 2012.

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