Old Testament replicas to come to Selma’s PilgrimagePublished 9:42pm Wednesday, March 13, 2013
This year Selma’s Pilgrimage will focus on the aspect of the city’s rich and extensive Jewish Heritage. As visitors mingle through various houses in historic Selma, they can also see the Temple Mishkan Israel, a once Jewish social club and now replicas of furniture pieces from the Old Testament Tabernacle.
Dewey Miller, who handmade all of the Old Testament furniture that will be on display, has spent a lifetime as a machinist building powerful diesel engines and motor parts, which gave him skills that came in handy when he wanted to build a replica of the Ark of the Covenant. Miller will be traveling from his home in Mobile to Selma on Friday and setting up shop — or a tent, rather — in Phoenix Park off of Water Avenue, just across the street from the St. James Hotel.
Visitors can view a fully, high-dressed priest, the Laver, a hand crafted Menorah, the Altar of Incense, the Table of Shewbread and the Ark of the Covenant.
Since Miller started building Old Testament furniture he has built five replicas of the Ark of the Covenant and has plans in the future to build a full-sized replica of a Tabernacle in Mobile.
His shop, which houses the furniture while he is working on race car engines, has brought in many from all denominations to pray, and Miller said people often tell him they feel the presence of Holy Spirit in the room.
His focus, he said, is to make sure people leave after seeing the replicas knowing that Christ was a Jew and that Jewish people inspired by God, wrote the Bible. He wants to tell others about how persecuting Jews is wrong and that, “they are God’s chosen people still today — that is His covenant and He does not break His covenants.”
Unlike those in the Old Testament, Miller has a southern drawl and used tools like blowtorches for his pieces after he said he was, “walking around in my shop praying and it just came to me … I had the strongest feeling in my body,” when it came time for him to build certain pieces he had no idea how to make.
When he built the horns to decorate the Altar of Incense, he said he didn’t want to use animal horns for the fact that all of God’s creations are perfect and animal horns would be uneven sizes. Miller took to building the horns himself, though he said he had no idea how to build them — God gave him visions and feelings, “on how to heat them and bend them.”
“Nine hours later they were done and absolutely beautiful, and not because I did it, but because the Holy Spirit intervened and showed me how to do it,” Miller said.
Shelby High, who is helping orchestrate Tabernacle Ministries come to Selma’s 2013 Pilgrimage, said this event will be a, “beautiful way for our Jewish roots to really be honored at the core of where we came from, the place where we stand alongside of our Jewish friends and neighbors.”
High said the display is coming to Selma at a cost burden on individuals, so if there are those who feel led to donate they can call her at 872-6646.