Flanking the curved wall beside the Ark are the two tablets of the Ten Commandments carved in an ancient Hebraic script. Above the Ark, natural gas fuels the Ner Tamid (the everlasting light), the symbol of God’s eternal presence.
Central to the Chapel stands the circular wood and bronze Ark. Considered to be the holiest part of every synagogue, the Ark houses the Torah scrolls—each Torah contains the Five Books of Moses, the first section of the Hebrew Bible. Among the Chapel’s Torahs is one presented to the Brigade of Midshipmen by the Israeli Defense Forces.
The Esther and William Miller Chapel’s four-story, silver-leafed ceiling provides the appearance that there is no ceiling at all. Above the balcony, rows of metal scrims are bowed as if they are protecting visitors within the Chapel. The curvature of the stone floor and placement of furniture on the Chapel’s first floor leaves the impression that the center aisle ascends, symbolizing “aliyah” (the Hebrew term for ascending the altar) within the Chapel’s 450 seats.
Inspired by Israel’s ancient synagogue walls, the massive Jerusalem stone wall at the front of the Chapel was chiseled in Israel by local artisans. This wall is symbolic of Jerusalem’s Western Wall. The mosaic tiles throughout the building are Jerusalem stone that have been cut, polished and tumbled to give an “old world” look.