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  • Writer's pictureLipton Strategies

CLIENT SPOTLIGHT: Tree of Life Unveils National Institution and Design Concept

Lipton Strategies is excited to announce our client, Tree of Life, has unveiled a new national institution encompassing a museum, memorial, and center for education. This institution will be rooted in the belief that ending antisemitism will reduce other forms of identity-based hate. The new Tree of Life will also hold a memorial honoring the 11 people from three congregations killed in the worst antisemitic attack in U.S. soil on October 27th, 2018.

The newly established Tree of Life will be an incubator for new ideas to counter antisemitism and provide educational opportunities and curricula that inspire, prepare, and empower people to join the movement against identity-based hate.

“Our path forward imagines a future without antisemitism because we know all too well the pain and devastation it causes. Antisemitism is not just a Jewish problem. It is everyone’s problem, and we are all bound to actively work towards its end. We did not as for this responsibility, but we cannot ignore it.” Said Rabbi Jeffrey Myers, who survived the attack and serves as the honorary chair of the REMEMBER. REBUILD. RENEW. campaign supporting the new Tree of Life.

The new Tree of Life organization will be led by a CEO and governed by a Board of Directors separate from the congregation. The new Board will oversee the building. Additionally, the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh will merge into the new nonprofit, creating a single entity dedicated to ending antisemitism.

“When I learned about the effort to transform this site of tragedy and hate into a site of hope, remembrance, and education, I was inspired to support the reimagined Tree of Life. I believe in our community’s resilience and our renewed mission to couple education with action to end antisemitism,” said Michael Bernstein, chair of the Tree of Life Interim Governance Committee (IGC), which is overseeing the development of the new 501(c)3 organization, its programs, and the building.

Studio Libeskind has worked closely with members of the Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha congregation, the victims’ families and survivors, and local community members to understand their hopes and needs for the building. The design is sensitive to its context in the historic Squirrel Hill neighborhood, while rebuilding a re-imagined Tree of Life, one that affirms the light and optimism of the human spirit.

Central to Libeskind design concept is the “Path of Light,” a dramatic skylight that will run the entire length of the building. The glazed volume will welcome all visitors and ushers in the light to all the spaces and create a main axis that connects a series of programmatic spaces fro the various needs of the institution. Along the “Path of Light,” will be a museum, a space for reflection and remembrance called the Space of Memory, and a modernized sanctuary for worship and communal events.

(Lifang Vision Technology via AP)

“The Path of Light will bring a sense of optimism and hope to all the spaces within the Tree of Life, while creating the flexible and much needed spaces to realize their mission of inspiring people of all backgrounds and faith to unite against hate in our society,” said Libeskind.

Historic building elements, including the beloved stained-glass windows depicting the intertwined stories of American and Jewish history, will be preserved. The design also maintains the iconic limestone façade of the building.

(Lifang Vision Technology via AP)

The Interim governance committee is in the process of designing programs for the New Tree of Life and anticipates sharing more details about the programmatic plans and the building with the community in November. To learn more about the new Tree of Life, its mission and the REMEMBER. REBUILD. RENEW. campaign, click here.

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