The Tree of Life is Weeping: A Memorial to October 27, 2018.
The net proceeds of this giclee art print will be contributed to Pittsburgh affiliate office of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society. It comes in three sizes, and may be ordered hand embellished with gold paint, as in the original painting. Custom sizes may be special ordered.
This painting was created as a memorial to those who died and those who suffered in the attack upon the congregations: Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha, Dor Hadash and New Light on Shabbat, October 27, 2018.
As the Tree of Life covers her eyes to weep, her limbs create a heart at the center of the tree.The fallen leaves contain the names of those murdered. The enduring gifts they added to the universal Tree of Life are represented by eight pomegranates for the men, and three flowers for the women.The ninth pomegranate at the very apex of the tree, pointing upward, stands for the wisdom and resilience of Judaism and its people.
The leaves at the lowest branches of the tree honor those who were injured. The blank leaves stand for the many in the community who were injured in psyche and soul. The Lion of Judah and a gazelle of Ein Gedi are overcome with grief. The dove of peace is subdued and partially obscured, yet faces East toward the future.The Hoopoe bird, in a folktale about King Solomon, embodies compassion. He wears a tallit. The tiny owl of wisdom makes its home in the scar of the tree. The Lion of Judah weeps, as he says the Shema, and hugs the tree, along with a gazelle from Ein Gedi.
The Tree of Life will not be restrained. It has deep roots. Its branches grow through the border, upon which is written Psalm 6:9 “Depart you workers of iniquity, for Adonai has heard my weeping.” To avoid writing the name of God, medieval Sephardic scribes used a device of three yuds enclosed in a teardrop shape. This appears in the Hebrew quote in the border.
I would like to thank my colleagues from the Gamliel Institute, and the residents of Squirrel Hill, who offered many of these insights into the painting.