Heska Amuna Synagogue to host art reception

Tracy Haun OwensWest Knox

A world of art treasures and a rich history awaits community members at Heska Amuna Synagogue, which will host a wine and cheese, dessert and hors d’oeuvres reception Saturday, Oct. 21, from 7-9 p.m. The community is invited to the reception at the synagogue at 3811 Kingston Pike.


“We are so excited,” says congregation member Marilyn Burnett, who is assisting with the event. She says the congregation will being sharing its history and its art with the community as well as with members who may not know the origins or artists of particular pieces. The goal is to acquaint people with both the objects’ histories and the history of the synagogue, including how it fits into the larger history of the Jewish community in Knoxville.

Sponsors include Rabbi Alon Ferency, Pat Rosenberg, and Maryanne Merrell.

This Torah stand was created by Heska Amuna member and artisan Ernie Gross. Photo courtesy of Ernie Gross Designs

Artists include congregation member Ernie Gross, proprietor of the custom woodworking firm Ernie Gross Designs, in Clinton. He designed the Torah stands in the synagogue as well as the substantial lobby display cabinet. The Torah ark was created by artist Philip Livingston, with ark curtains by artist Morna Livingston.

There are several works by Arnold Schwarzbart. He was an acclaimed Knoxville artist and architect who died in 2015. He devoted much of his career to creating ceremonial objects of Judaica. His wife, Mary Linda Schwarzbart, is a docent on the tour, and she will share stories behind some of his works.

Other docents at the reception include Barbara and Bernie Bernstein and Michael Burnett.

Heska Amuna synagogue traces its origins to the Jewish merchants who ran shops in downtown Knoxville from the mid-1860s into the 1900s. This synagogue was constructed in 1960, and today boasts a vibrant membership from across East Tennessee.

For more information on the synagogue, visit heskaamuna.org.

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