The synagogue in Chodorov, in western Ukraine, was built in 1652
completely of wood and has remarkable, multicolored painting on
its walls and ceiling. The artist drew his inspiration from Jewish
heritage, Hebraic motives, the Bible and Talmud and from hand-written,
illuminated manuscripts from the Middle Ages.
On the wooden ceilings and walls of the small Chodorov synagogue,
the artist painted an oriental tapestry of warm colors, with graphic
elements from the plant and animal world, and biblical quotes
as well. In a variety of medallions, the artist painted lions,
tigers, elephants, camels, deer, rams, snakes, turkey, parrots,
and more. On the dome he painted the signs of the zodiac in circles
and around each one were quotes from the prayer for rain and from
the Bible. At the center of the dome was painted a huge, two-headed
eagle, who holds in its claws two rabbits, and around it is the
Biblical passage "As an eagle that stirs up her nest, hovers
over her young, spreads above her wings, takes them and bears
them on her pinions." (Deuteronomy 32, 11).
The Torah's repeated prohibition against idols and 'likenesses'
influenced the artist. Instead of the zodiac sign for "Twins"
the artist painted two hands one holding a wine beaker and the
other with flowers. "Virgo" appears as a woman sewing
and "Sagittarius" is a hand carrying a bow and arrow.
On the eastern wall, in a large frame around the Holy Ark, the
artist painted ancient
Hebraic symbols: 7 branched candelabra, musical instruments referred
to in the Psalms, the Tree of Life and its fruit.
Interspersed among the array of colorful decorations are passages
from prayers and sayings from blessed teachers of the past. The
name of the artist is included in the painting on the ceiling:
"Behold all that was painted my hand has wrought. The painter
Israel ben Mordecai Lischinky of the holy community of Yartshov,
the capital ..."