Torah Mantle Display from Tree of Life Congregation
December 1, 2019
The shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue on October 27, 2018 in Pittsburgh was a stunning and dismaying tragedy. Located in the peaceful Squirrel Hill neighbourhood, the murder of eleven innocent victims impacted Temple Sinai as one of them was a member of one of our Temple community’s families. It impacted me personally because the rabbi of that congregation, Jeffrey Myers, has been a friend since we attended seminary together.
Another mutual friend from seminary days, Cantor Steven Stoehr (the long time cantor of Congregation Beth Shalom of Northbrook, Illinois, and a past president of the Cantors Assembly, who grew up in Squirrel Hill), conceived the idea of commissioning a Torah mantle, symbolizing the support of the Jewish community for Tree of Life. Receiving the approval of Tree of Life, he reached out to artist Jeanette Kuvin Oren, who has designed other Torah mantles for that congregation, and to his Cantors Assembly colleagues to join their congregations in the commission.
November 29, 30 and December 1, this magnificent Torah mantle will be here on display at Temple Sinai. Filled with artistic symbolism, it is a beautiful example of synagogue art, and its presence here will afford us all a chance to admire it, to remember the tragedy, and to take pride in the part Temple Sinai played in its creation.