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Concept and Form

  |   Institutional

Visual Identity

The Ohel Jacob Synagogue’s signature was initially presented under a set of monochrome small symbol – outlined David’s Star – and of a typographical exclusive logo – Hebrew characters -, reproduced in linotype engravings, expressing small variations over time, for decades.

The Israeli Youth HeHaver Association signature, created about 65 years after the Synagogue’s foundation, since it have never adopted any sign during this long period, included more complex graphics, suitable for offset or digital printing, and followed by a concept which, although it has not been documented at the time, it is possible to reconstruct with the support of current members of the board who were present in 1998/1999. The identity was then composed of symbol and exclusive typographic logo, in accordance with the following elements and meanings:


Concept based on Tu BiShvat – Rosh Hashanah of trees – the importance attributed by the Torah to these living beings, comparing itself not only to a tree of life, but also comparing the tree to the human being himself as well, “A person is like a tree in a field…” (Deut. 20:19), and still by intrinsic values to the four elements of Nature that are so essential to trees as to Mankind – Water, Earth, Fire and Air. In

Olive Tree

Choice of the olive tree because of its unique symbolism, not just a bit in all civilizations, since ancient times, but especially under the light of Judaism. The olive tree, translated in faithfulness and determination, as a sign of divine presence among humanity, was raised by King David when he compares it to himself, “As for me, I am like a green olive tree in the house of God, because I have trusted in Divine benevolence, now and forever.” (Psalm 52); or mentioned in many other verses and passages such as “In his home, his wife will be as a fruitful vine and his sons as branches of the olive tree around his table.” (Psalm 128), a clear promise of comfort and divine loyalty.

Olive trees aren’t really beautiful even during flowering, although their wood have estimated value in the carpentry work and in sculpture. However, the extraordinary talent of olive trees remains out of eyes reach, it’s below ground, just like the Jewish people. Their extensive and numerous roots may prolong up to 6 meters in depth and over 10 meters in horizontal direction (rare cases above 50 meters), a fact that turn olive trees into a productivity, survival and longevity phenomenon, as they may reach ages over 2500 years – the age of the oldest olive tree in Portugal is calculated over 2850 years and it is believed that the oldest olive tree in the world is about 4000 years old. It is believed not to be possible to extinguish an olive tree, because either if it is cut or burned, new branches will always germinate from its root, illustrating how the children can be born and develop steadfast in faith, thanks to strong spiritual roots of their parents. Cultivated olive trees can survive in any kind of soil and climate, continuing to produce olives for centuries, while other trees perish under the same conditions. Olive trees are also appreciated by the Jewish people because of olive oil preciousness, used over time with particular emphasis on the religious luminaire – but also in domestic lighting, cooking, skin protection, ointments and cleaning soap.

Olive tree is often considered the only typical tree of Israel, because many times olive trees have been the producers of the only national export good, ever since the time of Solomon. When the dove returned to Noah, she was carrying an olive leaf, and Moses himself refers to the Promised Land as “land of olives”.


‘Magen David’ (Shield of David), a symbol that emerged in the 17th century to distinguish the houses of Jewish worship, like the Christians with the symbol of the cross. The primitive meaning of this Star is not known as well as the Jews real reason about the choice of this symbol, regardless of the various theses appeared later among rabbis, scholars and historians. It was decided the use of this symbol also for the connection between the sign already used in the Synagogue’s stationary, in the 1940s, and the identity formed at the time of HeHaver’s legalization, in 1999, as a first bridge between the Institution milestones. > Read Visual hierarchy – Shape And Color


Molding the word החבר the logotype is formed by the Hebrew characters החבר ‘HeHaver’ (friend) and it is figured in a bordered box, at the base of the tree, implying the protection of its roots, following the olive tree concept developed above. It intends the transmission of the symbolic idea of friendship as a foundation, much more than a common function of designation.

ohel - Concept and Form
The synagogue of Progressive rite, the only Askenazi synagogue in Portugal, founded in 1934. Affiliate member of EUPJ/WUPJ (European Union of Progressive Judaism/World Union of Progressive Judaism) since April 2016.