How do you describe a community? How do you convey its character and aspirations? Businesses talk about branding. And Har HaShem has concluded a multi-year process to create a vision and logo.
Our new logo represents our aspirations, our real and hoped for diversity, openness, and evolution from the community we are, to the community we wish to be.
A year ago, the Board adopted the vision, and we began communicating about who we are in words.
We are Congregation Har HaShem.
We create meaning in our lives…through Jewish practice.
We celebrate together and lift each other when we have fallen
גמילות חסדים – g’milut chasadim – acts of generosity and kindness
We are inspired to realize our human potential
בצלם אלוהים – b’tzelem Elohim – in the image of the divine
We work to make the world more just
צדק צדק תרדוף – tzedek, tzedek tirdof – justice, justice shall you pursue
We also began working toward a new logo – a visual identity that would reflect our vision graphically.
The logo needed to reflect that creating meaning is our goal. Judaism is the path…the toolkit…we use to get there. It needed to convey the importance of our community, its strength and diversity, openness and dynamism. Earlier this year, the Board adopted a new logo, and we are rolling it out now through shalach manot (our Purim gift bags), social media, website, stationery, program guide and other materials.
The logo features a multi-colored graphic, sketched with a brushed quality, that can be seen as mountains, tents, flames. The brushed quality suggests movement. The colors may reflect a sunrise or sunset, a rainbow, or the colors of leaves in the fall. That interpretive possibility of being able to see different things in one image, reflects the way we see and practice Judaism. Each of us understands the tradition differently, emphasizes different aspects of our identities (community, worship, culture, study, social action), and may grow differently in our expression of our values and identities.
The overall shape of the logo – a triangle pointing upward – reflects that graphic and the idea of a mountain, and our name Har HaShem, mountain of God.
The simplicity and weight of our name reflects the importance and strength of our community. “We are Congregation Har HaShem.” It provides a foundation for holding, for lifting, our tradition, each other, and our aspirations, just as the graphic sits atop that solid line of text. It is underscored by the name of our campus, in honor of the Margolis family. The drop capitals in Har HaShem may suggest roots reaching into the ground, rivers flowing out of the mountains or may appear to lift up the other letters of our name, just as we lift up one another.
Here are reactions from some who helped develop and adopt the new logo:
I like the new logo a lot. It is forward-looking and contemporary while reflecting our story and memory. The loose, gestural graphics evoke both mountains and tents, and the colors range from cool, moist slopes to hot, dry cliffs. To me, these forms and colors expand on the idea of our current Flatirons logo by linking our mountains to the mountains of Sinai, linking our “tent” to the tents of Sinai, and linking Har HaShem to our Boulder roots and our biblical roots.
I love how, in the text of our name, the first letters are grounded, and then the following letters are higher, challenging us to lift our eyes and hearts. We turn our gaze upwards, towards the mountains. Har HaShem helps us, literally and figuratively, to rise and inspire.
- I think the new logo hints at both a mountain shape (Har HaShem means Mountain of God) and also an inclusive tent, which is reflected in the architecture of our sanctuary. The spectrum of colors also seems to reflect inclusiveness.
- The new logo is a wonderful representation of Har HaShem, I love its connection to the congregation’s vision of being an open and inclusive tent for all.
A brand is not a logo – a good logo reflects the brand. This logo reflects the process which included the creation of a new vision grounded in research and personal interviews. Through this process we set forth to bring a new clarity and direction to the organization. This logo can be appear as different things to many people, a large tent for the community, mountains beyond mountains that represent the challenges and accomplishments of life. Without a doubt it’s a visual representation of a bold step into the future. Proving we are open to the possibilities and opportunities that arise from being fully in coherence with our vision and values.
Over our history, Har HaShem has had at least five logos. The first three represented our building and evolved as our building expanded. The fourth, in use for the last 15 years or so, showed the Flatirons in a Star of David, depicting our location and our tradition. Our new logo represents the character of our community and our future. Rabbi Greene discussed this at Friday night services on February 21. Watch his sermon here.