By Jon Delano

Since last October’s murder of eleven worshippers, a fence and tarp have isolated Tree of Life Synagogue from its neighbors.

As KDKA’s Jon Delano explains, members of the three congregations that once worshipped there now want to change that.

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“Once the tarps and the fence went up, it’s just really sad and very dismal,” says Dr. Laurie Zittrain Eisenberg, a member of the Board of Tree of Life.

Eisenberg says the outpouring of support from Pittsburgh deserves better.

“I did hear a few comments from neighbors, and we thought … we can do something better,” she says.

It’s been nearly six months since the tragedy at Tree of Life, and the tarp that covers the fence outside the synagogue has really become weathered.

So the members of Tree of Life have come up with a very creative idea.

It’s called “#HeartsTogether: The Art of Rebuilding” — a request for young people, aged 13 to 17, to submit art to replace the tarps.

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The theme of the artwork?

“Gratitude, kindness, community, diversity, love, togetherness, something positive,” says Eisenberg.

All three congregations that worship at the synagogue — Dor Hadash, New Light, and Tree of Life — have endorsed the plan in which the artwork, submitted digitally, will be printed on new windscreens covering the fence.

“It will be kind of like a sidewalk gallery of just one positive, upbeat image after another,” Eisenberg explains.

And the artwork could be up for a while.

“There has not yet been a decision made as to whether parts of the building will be razed and rebuilt or gutted and refurbished,” says Eisenberg. “We want to be in the same space, but as our rabbi says, it’s not a prayerful place right now.”

In the meantime, the three congregations will thank their neighbors and the greater Pittsburgh community for all the support through art.

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