ark n. English 1. Shorthand for Holy Ark (Aron Kodesh), the cabinet at the front of an Ashkenazic synagogue that houses the Torah scrolls. It is usually set into or against a wall that faces east toward Jerusalem. The ark is sometimes large and ornate, sometimes small and plain. A depiction of the tablets of the Ten Commandments, or portions of their words in Hebrew, is often part of the decoration. During synagogue services, being asked to open the ark or assist in any way with the Torah is considered a high honor. 2. Shorthand for Noah’s ark, the boat Noah built at God’s command (in Genesis) before the Great Flood. See tik.
Eisenberg, J., Scolnic, E., & Jewish Publication Society. (2001). The JPS dictionary of Jewish words. Over 1000 entries for Jewish holidays and life-cycle events, culture, history, the Bible and other sacred texts, and worship. Each entry has a pronunciation guide and is cross-referenced to related terms.; “A JPS desk reference”–cover. (9). Philadelphia, PA: Jewish Publication Society.